Autonomy (AUTN) has announced an agreement to form a joint venture with China Netcom Broadband Corporation Limited to bring next generation technology to the rapidly expanding consumer internet market.

China Netcom Broadband Corporation (CNCBB) is the largest provider of broadband and fixed line connectivity in Northern China with over 110 million customers or 95% of the market in an area which includes Beijing.

CNCBB is currently part of the China Netcom Group (CN).

The new service will bring together Autonomy's enterprise retrieval expertise and newly developed consumer technologies and CNCBB's unmatched reach in the market. blinkx, the integrated search specialist bringing together the desktop, Web and TV, will provide branding to the venture.

The new venture will offer a compelling service to China's relatively open consumer market, bringing next generation search technology to one of the fastest growing markets in the world. The service will allow Chinese consumers to search and access a wealth of multimedia content for the first time.

The service has been uniquely designed to cater for second generation Web content such as audio and video material, together with traditional text retrieval.

The anticipation around services such as TV over the Internet demonstrates the growing demand for sophisticated technologies that will make multimedia content readily and easily accessible to Chinese users. Building on Autonomy's extensive experience in processing text, voice and video content, blinkx's experience and exposure in the consumer market, together with CNCBB's significant market penetration, the service is set to revolutionize Chinese consumers' online search experiences.

The Joint Venture will be chaired by Dr. Edward Tian Suning, 41, Vice Chairman, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of China Netcom Group Corporation. Dr. Tian also serves as Vice Chairman and a non-executive director of PCCW Limited, and other public and private companies. The Board of the Joint Venture will include other representatives of CNCBB and Autonomy.

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