NetLinkz (ASX:NET) agreement to monitor water quality in Sichuan Province


by Rachael Jones

NetLinkz Limited (ASX:NET) Executive Chairman and CEO, James Tsiolis talks about the significance of the company's agreement to provides its Virtual Secure Network to a World Bank-sponsored initiative to improve water sanitation services in selected areas of the Deyang Municipality of Sichuan Province.

Rachael Jones:
Hello. I'm Rachael Jones for the Finance News Network. Joining me today from NetLinkz (ASX:NET) is Executive Chairman and CEO James Tsiolis. James, welcome back to the network.

James Tsiolis: Thank you for having me back.

Rachael Jones: Now, NetLinkz is a developer of peer-to-peer networks via its software that makes networks invisible to hackers. How is progress?

James Tsiolis: Progress is significant. We've now got China, where we've formed a joint venture to go to market with iSoftStone -- which is called iLinkAll, is the short-form name. We've won two significant contracts. One is still in preparation, which is with the Beijing authority and deals with coronavirus. And people are using our software to remotely connect to the office from home, as part of the Chinese government's policy of preventing people from going to work to spread the virus. In addition to that, we've announced a significant contract out of Chengdu, which is in Sichuan. That contract is a water treatment plant. It's World Bank-sponsored. It's a private-public partnership. And we're involved right at the start from design right through to the implementation of the platform. And then there'll also be revenue to follow using our platform ongoing. In addition to that, we've also bought a business in Australia called SSI Pacific. That is our go-to market strategy for Australia and New Zealand. That is a business that's been around several years, and that's an exciting go-to market strategy for us as well.

Rachael Jones: Now let's talk about your agreement for the virtual secure network in the province. What can you tell me about this project?

James Tsiolis: Sanitation is a big, big issue for China, as it is for other parts of the world. You've got 81 million people that live in Sichuan. In Chengdu, it's a city of about 20-odd million. Therefore, water sanitation is critical to everyday functionality for its society.

The project is the first significant water treatment plant project that's been undertaken by the municipality in partnership with the private sector. It's a World Bank-sponsored project. The outlay for it is about US$150 million, and that's just the phase one of the project. So, from that standpoint, our software has passed significant tests in order for it to be involved in this project. Other companies that are involved in this project are the likes of Huawei. As I've said, the World Bank is a sponsor. So, there are significant other companies that are participating in this project.

Rachael Jones: And there was probably a lot of competition for selection for this project. Why do you think they chose NetLinkz?

James Tsiolis: We were selected because of the quality of our software and its capability. Our software in China has won two awards in the last 12 months. Obviously, we have the IOT Lab in Beijing, which has helped us get that business. But more importantly, it's a secure cyber-protected network using software. And that's what the government's looking to implement to control its water treatment plant, and all the data remains secure between all the various devices that are connected via that network and that platform.

Rachael Jones: And James, work has already started on the project. What phase are you in now?

James Tsiolis: Phase one of the project has started, and that was on 20 February. It's now in the design phase. So, we have engineers via our joint venture, iLinkAll, involved in the project today. So, the first stage is to design the actual network and platform, and then it's to execute it.

Rachael Jones: And to the last question now, James, how important is the project, and how important is it for NetLinkz in China?

James Tsiolis: This is a key infrastructure project. And on several occasions I have said that our software is software infrastructure. Obviously, it's a project that will go for at least 12 to 18 months in its build and completion stage. This will allow us to demonstrate the capability of the software on a grand scale in terms of the size of the project. It also will demonstrate how NetLinkz will generate long-term revenue and how we will make money in the future.

Rachael Jones: James Tsiolis, thanks very much for the update.

James Tsiolis: Thank you for having me.