China Merchants Bank, Legend offer PDA banking service

China Merchants Bank and Legend Group Ltd. last week began offering online banking services for users in China of Legend’s Tianji XP personal digital assistant (PDA) as part of an effort to improve the bank’s service offerings.

China Merchants Bank hopes that working with Legend to offer services such as PDA banking will help the bank weather stiffer competition from foreign financial institutions as China’s financial industry opens up under terms of the country’s entry into the World Trade Organization earlier this year, it said in a joint statement.

Offerings on tap from the PDA-based service, which requires Microsoft Corp.’s Pocket PC 2002 software, include the ability to check account balances, transfer funds and trade securities online from the Tianji XP, the statement said. The service can be accessed over any Internet connection. Fees for the service were not disclosed.

Introduced in April, Legend’s Tianji XP100 PDA is based on Microsoft’s Pocket PC 2002 software and runs on a 206MHz StrongARM processor from Intel Corp. The Tianji XP100 PDA includes a 240-pixel by 320-pixel TFT (Thin Film Transistor) LCD (Liquid Crystal Display), 64M bytes of RAM, 32M bytes of ROM, and retails for 4,380 renminbi (CDN$802).

While the China Merchants Bank PDA banking service is not tied specifically to the Tianji XP, no mention was made in the statement of other PDAs that would offer the service.