Cumulative end-user spending on these projects may range between $1 billion to nearly $3.5 billion through the year 2000, according to a Commerce Department report. The projects provide investment opportunities for foreign companies since each project must finds its own hardware and software suppliers.
Following is an outline of projects that could indeed create a golden opportunity for high-tech firms that produce and trade with China.
First announced in March 1993, the Golden Bridge Project is China's version of the information superhighway. The network will be constructed across China, and will ultimately incorporate all of China's information systems efforts, according to the Chinese Ministry of Electronics Industry. The backbone of Golden Bridge will be interconnected space satellite and ground fiber optic networks linked to a domestic private network. Apart from providing Internet access, the system will allow email, electronic data interchange, database online services, information sources, and applications service systems.
Major vendors involved: Bell South, Cisco, Hughes, IBM, Scientific Atlanta, Intel, and Sun Microsystems
This project began in 1995 to create a countrywide banking and credit card system. Its goal is to use telecom networks to replace cash transactions with an electronic systems for savings, withdrawals, and payments. The plan reportedly will deliver 300 million credit/cash cards to 300 million people in 400 urban areas by the year 2005. The project is currently operating pilot programs in 12 cities and provinces.
Major vendors involved: IBM, Ameritech, General Electric, and Tandem
Vendors that may receive contracts: AST Research, Compaq, Digital Equipment, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, NCR, Novell, and Stratus
This initiative will connect foreign trade companies with banks and China's customs and tax offices. The project aims to create paperless trading by automating customs checks and eliminate cash transactions for international trade. It will feature email, electronic data interchange (EDI), and an electronic post office.
This initiative, cosponsored by the Ministry of Finance and the People's Bank of China, plans to spend more than $1.2 billion to computerize the tax collection system. According to the Commerce Department, the government has already finished the first phase which built and linked the Beijing main audit center to 795 local tax offices in 50 large cities via a satellite network. The system will be expanded to include 400 cities in 4000 districts and counties.
Major vendors involved: AST Research Compaq, Hewlett-Packard, and IBM