DAIMLER Benz, one of Europe's largest industrial groups, is holding a two-day Hong Kong meeting of senior government officials and leading businessmen from the region. Daimler chairman Jurgen Schrempp is leading what the company calls an international advisory board meeting, which a Daimler spokesman in London said would be attended by Singapore's Senior Minister Lee Kwan Yew. The meeting, which started yesterday, is intended to be private and is limited to invited guests. It is understood about 20 people are attending, including five or six Daimler board members and officers. The spokesman said senior officials, politicians and businessmen from China, Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, the United States and Europe were involved, plus a lone representative from South Africa. Daimler, which is eager to diversify and expand in Asia to limit exposure to fluctuations in the US dollar, said the meeting was not linked to any business it was pursuing in the region. Mr Schrempp has said he has set up a consultant group to advise him on new markets. The spokesman confirmed the meeting was the first for the consultant group and said similar combinations of advisers would meet once or twice a year in different parts of the world. For this meeting, tapping the Asian market would be the main topic, he said. 'We really are globalising our activities and we need to get better knowledge in regions of the world, especially in emerging markets and in regions where Daimler has less activities,' he said. 'This is not intended to have any results, it is more a background advisory meeting to discuss the broader topics.' A Daimler official at the group's head office in Stuttgart, Germany, said lobbying on future projects might occur in meetings outside the international advisory board. 'This may well be the case in fringe meetings, but the purpose of the meeting is purely social.' He said the meetings would be held to meet government officials who could advise the board where opportunities existed and 'which doors to knock on'. The meeting with Mr Lee is of interest because Daimler, which is listed in Singapore, wants to trade in Singapore dollars instead of the US currency in order to revive interest in the stock. Under the stewardship of its previous chairman, Edzard Reuter, Daimler began a drive to become more of a global entity, listing its shares in major stock exchanges around the world. It recently won a 1.4 billion deutschemark (about HK$7.63 billion) multi-purpose vehicle project in China, and is pursuing other large deals there.