MORE British companies are setting up shop in Hong Kong in a bid to enter China. The British Chamber of Commerce says that British businessmen are increasingly of the impression that the territory has a key role as a springboard into the mainland market. In the past three months, 50 British companies have established offices in the territory. The chamber's executive director, Christopher Hammerbeck, said: 'The British take a slow and long term view in investing in China. 'China's requirement for foreign investment is virtually limitless. There is a tremendous growth increase in China.' According to figures from the chamber, Britain's exports to China have been on the increase since 1989. Last year, the value of British exports to China - directly and via Hong Kong - was GBP1.08 billion (about HK$12.91 billion), a 38 per cent increase over 1992. By 2000, Britain's top 250 companies will rely on their Asian operations for up to 20 per cent of their profits. Chamber chairman William Courtauld said three main factors would help fuel the growth of British business in China. These, he said, were stronger commercial laws in the mainland, greater commercialisation of state-owned enterprises and more development of infrastructure.