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IFC Makes First Investment In Chinese Technology Sector

Washington, D.C., May 29, 2003 —The International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, today agreed to invest $3.5 million in Great Infotech, a China based information technology services and software development company.  IFC's investment will contribute to the availability of IT products and services targeted at the Chinese financial sector, helping to fulfill the strong demand from banks and other financial services providers.  This is IFC’s first investment in a Chinese technology company.  
Great Infotech builds innovative software products for clients in the financial services industry and provides systems integration services.  The investment—which will support Great Infotech’s expansion of its software product line and development of a software center in Chengdu—is part of a $6.5 million round of equity financing led by IFC that includes the participation of OCBC, Wearnes & Walden, a Singapore-based venture capital firm, and DEG, the German development finance institution.  
“China’s entry into the WTO provides a perfect platform for a company like Great Infotech to consolidate its position nationally. The company is an excellent example of the type of innovative firm that China will rely on to develop its technology sector and become a leader in the information-based global economy,” said Mohsen Khalil, director of the World Bank Group's Global Information and Communication Technologies Department.  “This investment helps IFC support dynamic private entrepreneurs who will support China’s economic growth.  We expect that this investment will have a positive impact in the information technology sector and also in the financial sector since GIT delivers innovative IT solutions for Chinese banks,” said Javed Hamid, IFC Director for East Asia and the Pacific.  
Yu Wei, the founder and CEO of Great Infotech, noted, “The Company’s goal is to show that China’s software engineers are able to translate business needs into efficient enterprise software. This investment from prominent international financial institutions will play a key role in helping the company fund a new technical development center in western China and assist us in the next phase of our growth.” Great Infotech is based in Beijing and has offices in both southern and western China.  The company’s activities have strong developmental benefits through programs to develop local technical resources in China, especially in the western part of the country, and by advancing the capabilities of Chinese financial institutions.  
The World Bank Group’s Global Information and Communication Technologies Department promotes the transfer of communications and information technologies to the developing world. The Information Technologies Investments Group, part of GICT, focuses exclusively on building successful information technology businesses in the emerging markets. Established in 2000, the group brings a global perspective to information technology, a long-term approach to investments, an ability to leverage the resources of the entire World Bank Group, and a commitment to maximizing the value of its portfolio companies through sustained strategic assistance.  Further information on the group can be found at www.worldbank.org/ict .
OCBC, Wearnes & Walden ( www.oww.com.sg ), a Singapore based venture capital firm, has made investments across East Asia and the West Coast of the United States since 1992, focusing on technology- and service-based companies.  OCBC, Wearnes & Walden is actively focused on companies involved in providing outsourcing services in IT, logistics, education, healthcare and financial services.  
DEG, an enterprise of the KfW Group, finances investments of private companies in developing and transition countries.  As one of Europe’s largest institutions for long-term project and company financing, it encourages private business structures to contribute to sustainable economic growth and improved living conditions.  
The mission of IFC is to promote sustainable private sector investment in developing countries, helping to reduce poverty and improve people's lives. IFC finances private sector investments in the developing world, mobilizes capital in the international financial markets, helps clients improve social and environmental sustainability, and provides technical assistance and advice to governments and businesses. Since its founding in 1956 through FY02, IFC has committed more than $34 billion of its own funds and arranged $21 billion in syndications for 2,825 companies in 140 developing countries. IFC's worldwide committed portfolio as of FY02 was $15.1 billion for its own account and $6.5 billion held for participants in loan syndications