Three MBA students who saw that the market for fresh ginseng was growing, used that knowledge to win a top business competition. Yvette Myra Castro, Ivy Chan Nga-wai and Ming Max Xiao from Simon Fraser University, British Columbia, visited Hong Kong to explain their ideas and collect their prizes. Their business plan was selected by judges over 15 others submitted to the competition, which was organised by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong. Other plans submitted by business master's students at Canadian universities included selling farm and hi-tech products. The presentation was at the Hotel Conrad. 'Marketability of our chosen product in Hong Kong is what makes our plan better than the others,' Ms Castro said. 'There are statistics showing that the fresh ginseng market is growing. 'Eighty-six per cent of the ginseng in North America is exported to Hong Kong and most of it is re-exported to other countries from here.' Their target markets also include Shenzhen, Guangzhou and the Philippines. 'We chose Shenzhen and Guangzhou to be the target areas because they are experiencing rapid economic growth and the market there is huge. The demand is increasing at a rate of 20 per cent every year in China,' Ms Castro said. 'The ginseng market in the Philippines, on the other hand, is basically untapped. 'But we see there are a significant number of wealthy Chinese in the Philippines at whom we will be targeting.' The three students also said reliable supply would give them an advantage over their competitors in the industry. They said the biggest challenge in their one-year business plan was raising the money to carry it out. 'Nonetheless, we have generated two scenarios for capitalisation. 'In the full capitalisation scenario, our target is C$4.5 million [HK$25.2 million] which will allow us to establish warehouses and processing plants in Canada as well as offices in Hong Kong.' Their second, cheaper, idea was to act as middlemen between suppliers and buyers. They have three sources of finance in mind. These include attracting private investors in Hong Kong and Canada, or immigration-entrepreneur programmes, which let people invest in Canada in return for Canadian residency.