CHT, Microsoft, HTC team up for Chinese e-book market

CHT hopes to provide e-books to the global Chinese language market in the future

Taiwan's largest telecommunications service provider, Chunghwa Telecom (CHT), has teamed up with Microsoft, smartphone maker High Tech Computer (HTC) and others to start building an e-book business for Chinese language materials.

The company unveiled dozens of business and content partners at a news gathering in Taipei aimed at building support for its online Hami Book City and Hamibook software. The idea is to launch the online book store for content and sales and develop Hamibook software to work on smartphones and other devices such as e-readers.

"In the future, we hope to provide our content to the global Chinese e-book market," CHT said in a statement. Chinese is the main language used for written materials in Taiwan.

Hami is the name CHT uses for a variety of online services it offers, while Hami Book City is a translation from Chinese and may not be the final English name for the online bookstore.

CHT plans to make Hamibook software compatible with a variety of OSes, including OS X iPhone, Google's Android and Microsoft Windows Mobile. The company expects HTC and other smartphone partners to create devices for the e-book market, including smartphones with e-book screens as well as e-readers.

Dozens of Taiwanese magazines, news groups and other publishers were listed as partners on CHT's statement.

CHT did not provide a timeline for the launch of the online bookstore or related services and devices, but it did say it plans to be first to market among telecommunications companies, which means it will have to debut by the second quarter of next year.

One of CHT's rivals, mobile phone service provider Far EasTone Telecommunications, last month announced its own e-book venture with Taiwan's largest book store operator, Eslite Books.

They plan to launch their e-book service and e-reader by the second quarter of next year.

The growing competition in Taiwan's e-book market shows the trend is growing and attracting a bigger following in Chinese. The services CHT and Far EasTone plan to launch are similar to Amazon.com's Kindle and e-book store. Telecommunication companies hope to benefit from wireless downloads of e-books and other content to be made for e-readers and smartphones.

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Dan Nystedt

IDG News Service
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