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Created: October 24, 2003.
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El Consorcio World Wide Web inaugura la Oficina Española en Oviedo, España.

W3C has announced the launch of a new W3C Spanish Office based at the Fundación para el Fomento de la Investigacin Científica y la Tecnología (FICYT) in Oviedo, Spain. FICYT carries out and disseminates applied research in information technologies, both self-financed and on behalf of the private and public sectors. It is a non-profit institution whose goal is to co-operate with industry on important areas of research and development. FICYT's activities include: (1) undertaking and supporting research and development projects; (2) warding individual grants to researchers and scientists; (3) promoting and disseminating technology transfer and collaboration among the scientific, education and research communities and the private and public sectors; (4) contributing to the development of the Information Society. FICYT also has an important network of contacts in Latin America. The new W3C Spanish Office will assist in coordinating with Latin American communities by also disseminating information in Latin America, encouraging and co-ordinating new translations to Spanish, build up press contacts, etc. FICYT meets the criteria for W3C Office selection as a vendor-neutral Member of W3C with an extensive contact network and shared objectives for Web development.

Although the primary goal of the new W3C Office is to be dedicated to outreach in Spain, this is also the first W3C Office with active contacts with Spanish-speakers worldwide. It joins the complement of W3C European Offices in The Benelux Countries, Finland, Germany & Austria; Greece; Hungary, Italy; Sweden; and the United Kingdom and Ireland. As its Members work to realize the full potential of the Web, W3C partners with regional organizations wishing to further W3C's mission.

The W3C Offices assist with promotion efforts in local languages, help broaden W3C's geographical base, and encourage international participation in W3C Activities. W3C currently has 14 Offices in Australia, the Benelux countries, Germany and Austria, Finland, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Korea, Morocco, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom and Ireland. En la fecha actual, existen 13 miembros españoles del World Wide Web Consortium W3C."

From the Announcement

Francisco Sanchez is Office Manager in the new Spanish Office. Vicente Alvarez-Areces, Luis Iturrioz-Viñuela, Jesús García, Daniel Dardailler, Marie-Claire Forgue and Ivan Herman presented at the opening ceremonies on 20 October in Oviedo.

The Spanish information technology (IT) sector is currently experiencing strong growth. In parallel with the development of the Information Society, the use of mobile phones has reached 65% of the population, with 94% of the schools and 31% of homes having direct access to Internet. Spain is second in Europe in broadband penetration in homes, with a rate of 18%. In a promising sign for industrial growth, expenditures in information and communication technologies (ICT) have grown by 50% from 1995 to 2001, shifting from 3.7% of the gross domestic product (GDP) to 5.1% by 2001, according to the the Spanish Ministry of Science of Technology.

Recently, the Spanish government has also launched the Españ program. The aim of the program is to improve the use of the Web in administration, education, and small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). Complementary measures are focused on territorial cohesion, citizen access, development of new content for the Web, and communication strategies to foster the use of the Web in general. The program has an expected investment of over 1M€ for the years 2004-2005.

Until recently, and in contrast to the importance of the Spanish economy in Europe, W3C had only three Spanish Members. However, this is rapidly changing. The W3C Office in Spain has already brought in nine new Members, and the Spanish community is gaining a better representation. By opening this new Office, W3C hopes to increase its presence in this important area, and benefit from the results of Spanish industry and academia in its own work.

Related Event: W3C Holds its First Outreach Event in Mainland China

W3C has announced its first event organized in mainland China. "The China International Forum on WWW's Development 2003 will be held on 12-13 November 2003 in Beijing. Ivan Herman, Philipp Hoschka, Richard Ishida, Shi Zhongzhi, Judy Brewer, and Matthew May present keynotes and tutorials. Attendees will discuss the future of the Web, accessibility, SVG, the mobile Web, the Semantic Web and internationalization. Registration is open. The event is co-organized by the China Computer Federation and the W3C Office in Hong Kong.

China has more than 45 million Internet users and the number is still growing. Chinese is the second most widely used language (behind English) on the Web. Cultural and language differences increase the necessity to pay attention to how the Web grows so that more people can access the Web easily, and so that user agents can render and search Chinese Web pages correctly with a variety of devices.

"The differences in knowledge levels, languages, consumers and producers, etc., have created information asymmetry which hinders international information exchange," says Professor Shi Zhongzhi.

Many international companies have set up research and development laboratories in China to work on Web-related technologies. However, the Web community at large needs more input from Chinese public users, academia and local industry, who depend on the Web in their daily activities.

"In view of the growing Web usage, especially growth in China, the Chinese people must participate more actively in the development of Web technologies," says Prof. Vincent Shen, Manager of the W3C Hong Kong Office.

This forum will give W3C and Web users in China a chance to understand each other's goals and concerns. W3C would like to see the Web grow in a direction where real needs from Chinese users are properly addressed. W3C also welcomes participation of Chinese experts in its Working Groups and Activities. W3C looks forward to building ties with the Chinese Web community..." [excerpted from the announcement]

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