THE Beijing Singkong Cement Factory, a joint venture between China, Hong Kong, and Singapore, officially opened last week. The cement factory, involving an investment of 220 million yuan (about HK$204 million), is 70 per cent owned by a Hong Kong and Singapore venture set up by Pico Far East (Hong Kong), Jurong Cement Group (Singapore) and Lippo Group (Hong Kong). The remainder is 30 per cent owned by Yong Ding Cement Company in Beijing. The factory began trial production in July. Lawrence Chia, chairman of Pico Far East, said the company was optimistic about prospects for the venture because of a continuing cement shortage in the region. He expected demand would increase in the next few years because a number of infrastructural projects would come on stream.