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PC Games, Cartoons to Enter Classrooms

Thirty domestic game designers and animation companies bid Thursday to have their products used in elementary schools in Shanghai.

Twenty-two of the bidding companies are based in the city, while the rest hail from other domestic cities like Suzhou, Hangzhou and Zhuhai.

Most of the bids focused on either online or single-player games, with bidding prices ranging from 8,590 yuan (US$1,035) to 2.8 million yuan.

"Companies' active participation in the unprecedented governmental bidding for computer games reflected the whole society's great concern for children's healthy development," said Weng Tiehui, vice director of the Shanghai Science and Technology Education Commission.

This September, the commission announced that it would allocate 1 million yuan for educational computer games and cartoons, which would be used in 1,500 local elementary schools to enrich students' extracurricular lives.

To be selected, games and cartoons must embrace the traditional Chinese cultural merits, be suitable for children's healthy growth and, more important, be attractive and interesting, Weng said.

Experience educators began assessing the various products Thursday. Local students and professional game players will also be invited to voice their comments.

The final results of the bidding are expected to be announced within two weeks. Besides the government purchase, the best designers will also be awarded an extra bonus, commission officials said.

Yu Haiyan, general manager of Shanghai Childream Digital Technology Development Co Ltd, one of the bidding companies, said that it's hard for educational game designers to make profits, even if they win the bid.

(Xinhua News Agency November 13, 2004)

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