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Shobunsha Publications Inc. said Monday it has set up a joint venture in Beijing with a major Chinese information technology firm to offer map content distribution services.

Capitalized at 150 million yen, Beijing Founder Mapple Information Co. is owned 49 percent by Shobunsha and 51 percent by Peking University Founder Group Corp. Operations will start this month.

The joint venture plans to develop a cartographic database of the Beijing and Shanghai areas by next March and a detailed cartographic database of 33 major Chinese cities by December 2008.

The venture will expand its business based on the database to publishing and car navigation services as well as Internet Web sites and other IT services, Shobunsha said.

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