Chinese e-book player Beijing Founder Apabi Technology is poised to take on the might of Adobe with a unified layout document technology to rival the PDF.
The company is already an established name in the Chinese e-book market, having contracts with about 500 Chinese publishers, as well as providing technologies for electronic publishing, developing platforms for electronic libraries, and selling e-book readers.
Its new CEBX technology stands for Common E-document Blending XML. A CEBX file can store document data and is fully compatible with PDF, but technically superior, the company says.
There are currently three software packages that work with the CEBX format. Apabi Reader is a home-grown equivalent of Adobe Reader, and it only allows users to view documents without any editing capabilities. Apabi Maker is a tool to convert other document formats to CEBX, while Apabi Carbon is the full CEBX editing suite. The company says it has applications under development for Windows Mobile, Android, and iOS (iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad).
Fang Zhonghua, chairman of Founder Apabi, said he is particularly excited about the possibilities for CEBX on Apple's iPad.
"We have more than 700 newspapers and periodicals that are willing to work with us," he said, adding that the company still needs to run a feasibility study and is aware that its products are available only as individual apps and cannot be integrated into the operating system.
With e-book sales already becoming a profitable business, Founder Apabi has plans to operate in the business-to-business market, with a specific focus on academic and professional content.
On June 30, Founder Apabi announced a strategic cooperative agreement with China's Science Press, which will make products in more than 18 different subject categories available through digital channels for the first time. Science Press plans to launch more than 8,000 e-books in five major disciplines.
When asked how the company can go up against a giant like Adobe, Fang said, "a lot of Chinese government departments have adopted our document-processing technology already," adding that, "PDF documents are often slow to browse on mobile devices."
The CEBX format has been designed to integrate with all kinds of smartphones, handheld e-book readers, and tablet computers, Fang said.