WATCHMAKER Omega expects to maintain a growth rate of more than 20 per cent in Hong Kong and China this year, company president Hans Kurth says. Mr Kurth said he was surprised by the high buying power of mainlanders. 'I can say that mainland Chinese today buy watches on average costing more than those that the Swiss buy themselves,' he said. The buying power of young people in Asia was generally growing and they wanted to acquire more luxurious goods, he said. The watchmaker, now leading in the China market, saw its business grow 50 per cent in the market in 1995. Offices were set up in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. Mr Kurth said greater China was the company's third largest market in terms of sales and turnover. The company enjoyed a market growth of 25 per cent in China and Hong Kong last year and was expecting a 20 per cent to 30 per cent increase in 1996. Alexander Seiler, marketing manager of Omega's Greater China division, said that most of the firm's consumers in China were sophisticated and the company would continue to target this group of people. 'They run their own private companies and business, they are independent entrepreneurs, and we think the most potential buyers in China are the young generation,' Mr Seiler said. He said the Hong Kong situation was more difficult because there were more competitors and consumers were also affected by the economic downturn and uncertainty over the handover. The company launched its new Omega Constellation in Hong Kong last week.