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August 14, 2005

Evermore hints at early IPO following Baidu success

Buoyed by the successful debut of Internet search firm Inc last week, Chinese software maker Evermore Software LLC may also push forward its IPO plans.

By CBR Staff Writer

Wuxi-based Evermore has not officially put its IPO plan in motion as yet. But several investment banks and legal firms are reported to be in preliminary talks to help the company go public.

Evermore officials have recently given mixed signals: initially saying that the company will go public in two or three years, but recently adding that an early IPO as early as next year might well be on the cards.

Evermore’s main product is a Java-based personal productivity suite application called EIOffice which officials boldly claim will give Microsoft’s ubiquitous Office suite a run for its money in China. EIOffice integrates word processing, presentation and spreadsheets into a single application – as opposed to separate components in Microsoft’s Office suite. The application was first released in October 2002.

Evermore still has along way to go to challenge Microsoft. The company reported modest sales of $5m last year. Its main strategy is to undercut Microsoft’s Office sales in China on price by offering similar software products that are 60% cheaper.

Microsoft currently charges around $400 for its Office suite in China. EIOffice comes with a $150 price tag, which includes free product support and upgrades for a year. This can be extended for $100 for each additional year.

Evermore is registered in Bermuda and the Chinese government has an undisclosed stake in the firm. The company says has the backing of influential government officials that are vary of Microsoft’s growing presence in China. Evermore’s software is already being used by several local government agencies in China.

Evermore confidence has been raided following the recent IPO of search engine firm – know as China’s Google – which returned the best first day for a public offering in five years, rising from $27 to $154. The stock has now settled back to $97 on Nasdaq.

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