ZHANGZHOU, better known for its agricultural industry, is shedding its ''flower and fruit village'' reputation to lure investors into its budding property market, according to Huaxing Real Estate Development.
Several major infrastructural works initiated and funded by its local government have began to attract more commercial investments into the city, especially from Taiwan and Japan.
Tsoi Tung-yeung, the director and general manager of the Zhangzhou-based Huaxing Real Estate Development, said the building of the new shipping port in Kangmei was already in progress.
''The size of the port is 20 times bigger than the one in Zhuhai, which is approximately 18 acres. The investors for this multi-million-dollar project include the China Merchants' Group and the Bank of China,'' he said.
Situated south of the Fujian province in southeast China, Zhangzhou has a population of more than 31/2 million and belonged to the Minnan Delta Development District.
Being geographically close to Taiwan, Zhangzhou has set up an agricultural co-operation experiment zone for Taiwan investors. Zhangzhou city governs nine towns and a district.
Mr Tsoi said that Zhangzhou had great potential to attract local and overseas investments as the city already possessed a sound transportation network.
''Zhangzhou has a convenient traffic network. There is the Yingxia Rail, which cuts across nearby major districts such as Huaon, Changtai and Longhai,'' he said.
''Another major infrastructural project under construction is the highway which will shortened the travel time between Zhangzhou and Xiamen; the two cities are 71 kilometres apart.'' However, property prices still vary greatly between the two cities with Zhangzhou lagging well behind.
''It is quite unusual in China to have properties put on sale for locals and foreigners at the same time but this is what's happening in Zhangzhou,'' Mr Tsoi said.
''Since the Zhangzhou property market is still at its infant stage, rules and regulations concerning property conveyance are not yet clearly defined.'' One of the developments which is now in the Zhangzhou market is the ''Huaxing Plaza''.
''Situated at the heart of Zhangzhou city, the 23-storey block occupies a total area of 2,000 square metres,'' said Mr Tsoi, the agent for the development.
The first floor is a shopping mall and the second to fifth floors are for offices and entertainment facilities.
The residential units start from the sixth floor.
''We don't expect to sell all these units within days because Zhangzhou is not as well known as other cities, but we are confident that the development will attract a sufficient numbers of buyers,'' Mr Tsoi said.