Keycorp sets up with joint venture for China sales

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ASX-listed Keycorp has made a joint foray into China with major Chinese IT manufacturer Hunan Computer Co (HCC) to take advantage of escalating demand for EFTPOS terminals in that country.

Keycorp said in a statement it would take 30 percent equity in a new joint venture in China, subject to Chinese government approval.

"A prime objective is to take advantage of the escalating demand for EFTPOS terminals in China," it said.

The Chinese government has reportedly set a target for the 2008 Olympic Games of 4.5 million units, up from an installed base of around 300,000.

Keycorp and majority partner HCC would form a new company to develop and manufacture EFTPOS systems using technology licensed from Keycorp, it said.

The company, dubbed POSTech CO, would be based in China's Shenzhen Special Economic Zone, Keycorp said.

Bruce Thompson, managing director at Keycorp, said the joint venture offered Keycorp important opportunities for its EFTPOS technology and IP.

"China is the world's largest market, but it is still in the early stages of adopting electronic payments," Thompson said.

Keycorp said POSTech CO would manufacture Keycorp K23 payment terminals and K78 mobile wireless terminals.

The company would later develop software using Keycorp's Rapid Application Development Environment and hardware products, working closely with Keycorp's R&D team, it said.

"These new products will be sold and supported in the Chinese market by HCC, but Keycorp will have the option to sell them outside China," Keycorp said.

HCC makes computer and financial peripherals in China. It has 13 subsidiaries and facilities in 47 cities in that country.

Keycorp's electronic payment terminals include smartcard-capable online and offline terminals capable of processing credit, charge, debit and stored-value transactions.

Keycorp is also a founding member of the MULTOS consortium, developing MULTOS multi-application smartcard operating systems.

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