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Opening Up The East
Cryptologic gears up for major move on Asia.

Veteran gambling software developer and turnkey provider Cryptologic is about to team up Brilliance Technology Company and 568 Network Inc in a significant project to adapt and license its online casino, poker and other skill-based games for the Chinese market.

Company officials this week signed memoranda of understanding with the two companies, which both have strong links to the software and gaming industries in China.

The agreement involves establishing a new and jointly owned factory in the region with the goal of penetrating the high-growth, high-potential Chinese market, including China , Macau , Taiwan and Hong Kong . Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.

Brilliance will establish a division to deliver the games in two modes: "play-for-fun" subscriptions for users in internet cafes and on mobile devices, and "play-for-money" through sites licensed by China Welfare Lottery, the nation's gaming licensing authority.

Cryptologic's investment will be a minority at first, but with an option to lift its investment to a controlling position. It has the right to appoint all board members to the new company.

President and chief executive Lewis Rose said the agreement was the first major step in what is one part of CryptoLogic's strategy to expand in Asia , which it sees as a growth market.

"This is the first major step in executing one of our cornerstone strategies: to expand in Asia - a key growth market for CryptoLogic," said Rose. "The agreement brings to CryptoLogic substantial game development and IT skills uniquely suited to the Asian gaming market, and provides well-placed resources in China to guarantee that our first steps are successful ones."

Brilliance is a software developer and systems integrator in China , with products that have been awarded various levels of certification by Chinese state agencies. Brilliance also has a proprietary payment processing system which every year facilitates billions of dollars in transactions for the four largest banks in China . Brilliance will enter into an exclusive licensing agreement with respect to the new company's online gaming software and service offering, and will apply for all required gaming licenses.

"There is a huge appetite for online gaming throughout Asia and this is the right group to penetrate the market quickly, deeply and legitimately," said Li Fu Hua, Chairman of Brilliance Technology Co. "CryptoLogic's award-winning online game offering will nicely complement our company's banking, payment processing and networking solutions that are already widely used throughout China."

Asia is quickly becoming the next major geographic area for online gaming. Industry experts expect Asia to be the fastest growing and ultimately the largest online gaming market in the world. China alone has over 135 million Internet users, the world's second largest user group after the United States .

In addition, China has the world's largest mobile phone market with more than 400 million subscribers, many of whom are expected to switch to the high-speed 3G networks over the next few years, creating the opportunity for explosive growth for game and content developers.

Brilliance intends to use its relationships with the major service providers to license the new company's casual game content to their subscribers.

Game568, headquartered in Markham , Ontario , Canada , is a game developer, publisher and operator with a Chinese subsidiary already creating games for that market, including card games such as "Fight Landlord" and "Za Jin Hua", and skill-based casual games such as "Lian Lian Kaan" and "Dragon Ball". Game 568 has a license from China Welfare Lottery, and has a database with more than one million registered players in the portals that it owns and those it operates for other developers.

"Our software engineering expertise in Shanghai and our existing Asian game roster, combined with Brilliance's IT leadership position in China and CryptoLogic's unmatched casino and poker game suite will give this partnership a decisive leadership edge in Asia," said William Cheng, Vice-President-China Operations for Game 568.

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