The People's Republic of China (PBC) has launched the first phase of a long-rumored, fully electronic fiber optic computer network that will effectively unify the entire Chinese economy and allow the financial community to operate like one bank.

The network, in development since 1990, is being builtoand will be owned and operatedoby the Zhong Yuan Financial Data Network Co., Ltd., a private company owned by China's Ministry of Post and Telecommunications, the PBC, and some Chinese banks. All banks and financial institutions, including intermediaries, will be on the network. The financial system is estimated by the PBC to include 213,00 offices with deposits equal in 1994 to roughly $565 billion (USD), or 107 percent of gross domestic product.

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