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February 4, 2001, Sunday
Money and Business/Financial Desk
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PRIVATE SECTOR; Golden Boy to Visit Middle Kingdom


By Timothy Pritchard

China is no stranger to prodigies -- its last emperor, Pu Yi, took the throne at the age of 3. But this Friday, it will play host to a different prodigy, from the West -- Keith Peiris, a 12-year-old Canadian boy who founded and runs a highly successful Web site company, Cyberteks Design. Keith, who lives in London, Ontario, is the youngest of a 500-member trade delegation led by Prime Minister Jean Chretien that will visit Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong.

Juggling conferences, appointments with Chinese business executives and media interviews during the 10-day trip, Keith will also tackle a folder of homework prepared by his seventh-grade teachers, he said last week. His business objective, he said, ''is to make contacts that will lead to long-term relationships with smaller companies.''


Keith set up Cyberteks at home in mid-1999, after spare-time Web surfing convinced him he could do better. The breakthrough was a contract from Interep, a large radio advertising agency in New York. Although revenue has yet to hit $1 million, the workload is building. Besides being president and chief executive, Keith is Cyberteks's chief designer and programmer. His father, Deepal Peiris, who is also going on the China trip, is the company's full-time administrator and project manager. Father and son said they might bring in an outsider to help when Keith goes away to college in five years. But selling control of Cyberteks appears to be out of the question. ''Personally, I would like to work with this company until I die,'' Keith said. Timothy Pritchard



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