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  • Microsoft Provides Internet Access to Chinese TV Users
  • March 15, 1999 (SHENZHEN) -- Microsoft Corp. Chairman Bill Gates recently unveiled the "Venus" project in Shenzhen, China, which offers Chinese customers access to online games, software and the Internet through regular television sets.
    "By delivering this technology in a low-cost and easy-to-use format, we hope to increase access to educational software, and ultimately the Internet, for Chinese consumers." Gates said.

    In the coming decade, according to Gates, most adults will be able to use e-mail and be part of the network. Chinese people will not be able to live without the Internet, just as now they cannot live without the telephone and the television.

    The Venus project is a way to increase China's integration into the networking era, said an executive of Microsoft (China) Co., Ltd.

    The device in the project will be manufactured by Microsoft in cooperation with Chinese partners, including the Legend Group, Stone Ginbin Co., Yuxing Electronics Group, Haier Group, Acer Inc., BBK Electronics Co., Ltd., Integrated Technology Express Inc. and Philips NV.

    China lags behind the world's current networking level. By the end of 1998 it had 2.1 million Internet users. Global Internet users had reached 153 million by 1998.

    However, China is the largest market for household electric appliances. It has 317 million TV sets, covering 90 percent of households, and 40 million video compact disk players. The national telephone coverage has reached 25 percent, and in cities it is as high as 50 percent.

    Sean Zhang, general manager of Microsoft China's R&D; Center, said that low costs and easy Internet access to be provided by the Venus project will create more markets for China's software and Internet service industries, and help expand their business scale.

    (Xinhua News Agency)

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    Updated: Fri Mar 12 23:41:13 1999 PDT