SUN Hung Kai Properties' commitment to a large new property development in Guangzhou this week is just the kind of vote of confidence in the city's real estate market other developers and investors were seeking. With the Guangzhou Land Bureau announcing unprecedented steps last week to slow down the pace of development and increase end-user interest, some investors must have been at virtual panic stations wondering what kind of troubles the city was heading for. True, the city is marching towards a serious glut in supply. But analysts are not warning of any subsequent crash in prices and rents, providing the city's thriving economy stays on course propping up demand. The Kwoks of Sun Hung Kai are master tacticians, not gamblers. They would not have committed themselves to this $1 billion integrated commercial complex without having done a lot of homework, particularly in regard to the China market where they have, to date, been cautious. While others have made millions, and often got their fingers burnt, Sun Hung Kai has been sitting back taking note. Of all the big-time Hong Kong Chinese property developers, its interest in China is among the smallest. To date, it has committed itself to only six other real estate projects in China, worth in total just a fraction of its total assets. In each case, its projects have been designated for investment purposes rather than development for sale, showing Sun Hung Kai is taking a long-term view to its investments rather than just trying to make a fast dollar. Plus, in each case, they have been on prime sites in prime areas. In Guangzhou, the test as to the strength of the market will come in a couple of years when supply is at its peak. The one million-square-foot Xi Ti Commercial Centre, announced yesterday, is not scheduled for completion until 2000. By then, analysts say the flood should have dried up and Sun Hung Kai believes it will be sitting pretty to reap some favourable long-term rewards.