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BANGALORE, India, Reuters [WN] : India's BFL Software Ltd said on Thursday it would launch its first products for Internet and e-commerce applications next year and forecast they would contribute three percent of revenues in 2000/2001.

"We are launching "netKIOS" and "kio," two major products in the arena of Internet and e-commerce," Anil Chugh, BFL's associate general manager, told a news conference.

A company statement said netKIOS is an operating system that supports the operation of a public Internet kiosk, allowing a wide range of interactive, multimedia applications.

The kio is an interactive, multimedia terminal linked to the Internet which will allow communication, access to information and enables business transactions.

BFL Software is 52 percent owned by Baring India Investment Ltd, a private equity fund sponsored by ING Group <ING.AS> of the Netherlands.

Its President and Chief Executive Officer B.V.Venkatesh said he expected first sales of the products to start in the first quarter of fiscal 2000/01 (April-June) and contribute about three percent of BFL's total revenues during the full year.

The statement said netKIOS had been jointly developed by BFL and NetCommunication, a subsidiary of Malaysia's Netcard Corporation Bhd.

Venkatesh said the two companies would jointly market netKIOS, which wil be sold to operating companies. BFL has the rights to market the product everywhere except Malaysia.

Chugh said the kio, which was wholly developed by BFL, allows users to take advantage of the Internet without owning a computer.

"We see unprecedented demand for Internet usage," he said.

He said a survey by global consulting firm Frost and Sullivan had estimated the Indian market for kiosks to be around $235 million by 2005.

Chugh said Europe, Australia, South-East Asia and India had been identified as the target markets for the kio with companies, Internet service providers and government bodies the main targets. ((Bangalore Newsroom, +91-80-558-1454, fax +91-80-558-1457)) REUTERS


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