New research into what makes Hong Kong's economy tick is being commissioned by the Better Hong Kong Foundation, the lobby group set up last year by some of the territory's wealthiest tycoons. The foundation is commissioning economic research into nine strategic areas of the territory's economy to help policy makers determinegoals in the future. Cheung Kong (Holdings) chairman Li Ka-shing and Henderson Land Development chairman Lee Shau-kee are among the foundation's trustees. The foundation had a high-profile launch last September with the endorsement of Chinese President Jiang Zemin. The studies will be co-ordinated by the Hong Kong Centre for Economic Research whose board of trustees includes former stock exchange chief Francis Yuen and economist John Greenwood. Mr Greenwood engineered the peg between the Hong Kong and US dollars. At a briefing yesterday, the foundation's advisory council chairman, Henry Cheng Kar-shun, who is also managing director of New World Development, said it was 'an excellent time to look at the existing economic systems and identify the challenges that lie ahead.' 'We are delighted to be working with [the centre] in carrying out sound, viable, logical and vigorous research, which will have a long-term benefit for Hong Kong.' Mr Cheng said the findings would be published by the foundation even if they did not favour business interests. 'The various studies when completed will be given to the Hong Kong Government and will be made available to other interested parties,' he said. 'We hope the Government and policy makers can make use of the studies when contemplating policies on the future development of Hong Kong.' Centre for Economic Research head Professor Richard Wong Yue-chim said it had concentrated on supporting free markets and limited government interference. 'Experience shows that prosperity results from policies that protect private property rights, maintain open and competitive markets, and limit the role of the government,' Prof Wong said. Eight economists from Hong Kong academic institutions are to complete the study before the end of the year in time for publication next year. Foundation chief executive Leonie Ki declined to reveal how much was being spent on the research. The nine areas included an over-view of the territory's economic policies, trading and investment relations among China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, tourism, port facilities, immigration and old age security schemes. In January, the Foundation, which Ms Ki said would be involved in more projects, commissioned a survey on what was worrying Hong Kong-based foreign businessmen.