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Intel Buys into Chinese IT Firm
Intel Capital, a strategic investment arm of Intel Corporation, has bought a 2.86 percent stake in Anhui USTC iFLYTEK Co., Ltd., a Chinese company that has developed mature data voice convergence technology (DVC).

An iFLYTEK official said that Intel Capital bought two million iFLYTEK shares from another iFLYTEK shareholder. She declined to reveal the cost of the purchase or iFLYTEK's total equity.

In practice, using iFLYTEK DVC technology, Chinese-language text messages stored in electronic products can be automatically converted into voices almost as perfect as those of radio broadcasters.

Some leading Chinese computer makers, including the Legend and Haier groups, have installed the software in their products. Industry insiders have pointed out that the technology also has wide applications for mobile phones, navigation aids, PDAs and Internet websites.

"These automatic voice processing systems will greatly enhance people's work efficiency, meanwhile promoting economic development. More people will benefit from advances in information technology as a result," said Liu Qingfeng, president of iFLYTEK .

An Intel official in Beijing said that the project conforms to the company's long-term development strategy. "As computers and telecommunications equipment are growing more and more inter- linked, Intel is seeking to apply high-level data voice convergence technology on Intel architecture servers," said Liu Jie of Intel Corporation.

Sources with iFLYTEK said the company would continue to focus on DVC technology in the future, just as Microsoft focuses on operating systems and Intel focuses on CPUs. Its ultimate goal is to become the world's largest data voice convergence technology provider.

Among its future moves, the company is to develop DVC technology applicable to both Chinese and English texts, and branch out into voice recognition, a field in which IBM currently reigns supreme.

Established in 1999, iFLYTEK is a subsidiary of the Anhui-based University of Science and Technology of China (USTC). Development of data voice technology at iFLYTEK is among a number of projects supported by the state with the goal of applying important scientific research results to commercial production.

(Xinhua News Agency February 25, 2002)

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