SHANGHAI'S Nanshi District, which includes the Southern Bund area, is stepping up its efforts to attract more foreign investments into the district with the release of more lots of land for development. In less than three months since it released seven lots of land for foreign investment, the Shanghai municipal government approved another seven to eight lots totalling 645,840 square feet for release this year. The first land lot of 60,859 sq ft for foreign investment was assigned to developer Hong Kong Colom Holdings which will build a financial and commercial office complex last October. The president of the City Land-Plan Administrative Department, Lu Minyuan, said: 'Previously, we concentrated on the internal workings of the district. But now that we want to develop Nanshi into a city centre, we need to let the outside world know more about us. 'And we still need a lot of foreign investments.' Mr Lu said they would conduct one or two public tenders for a couple of the lots in the first half of this year. He said up to 3.2 million sq ft of gross floor area could be built from the lots and can bring in another US$210 million for the district. The lots were suitable for residential and commercial uses, he said. In 1994, more than 400 concerns negotiated with Nanshi on various investment projects, resulting in the assignment of 20 lots of compensated land use rights totalling 1.39 million sq ft. Out of the 20, 12 are situated in the Southern Bund area which connects with the famous Bund. Mr Lu said the 12 interested parties included the Bank of Communications and the Bank of Construction which will build their Shanghai branch building headquarters in the area. He said the district would continue to ensure that property developers catering to the domestic market enjoyed a 15 per cent return on their investments. 'Businessmen aim to make profits. If they could not achieve this, they will not come here to invest,' he said. Mr Lu said property prices for the domestic market would be decided by the foreign developers. Meanwhile, the Nanshi deputy magistrate, Wang Xiaohong, said they wanted to speed up the process of improving the housing conditions for residents.