Germany's Tuxia, an embedded Linux startup, on Friday announced a deal to bring the company into the expanding Chinese market for Internet appliances. Tuxia is to co-develop Linux-based gadgets like thin client terminals, set top boxes, PDAs and Web pads with Beijing Orient Electronics Group, a large manufacturer of electronics components and displays.
The Chinese IT market is still nascent, but is eventually expected to explode because of the country's huge untapped population. China's Ministry of Information says the country's market for handheld Internet devices alone has grown by 300 percent in the past two years, and is to grow from 6 million units this year to more than 10 million units in 2002.
Portable devices with embedded functions are taking off even as PC sales slow, as evidenced by the transformation this year of the PC Expo trade show into the Tech X event, which focuses on mobile devices. IDC expects the global market for information appliances to grow from 11 million units, or $2.4bn (about £1.6bn) in 1999 to more than 89 million units, or $17.8bn, in 2004.
Linux is just one of several embedded operating systems, including Microsoft's Windows Embedded, competing for dominance in the information appliance market. Linux is popular partly because it does not involve licence fees, since it was developed under the open source GNU Public Licence.
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