Eton Properties, controlled by one of the richest Chinese in the Philippines, Lucio Tan, is changing its investment strategy in Hong Kong's real estate market to focus on sale properties in new projects. Eton Properties is eyeing the territory's middle to high-end residential property market, which is expected to strengthen with increased housing demand. 'As continuing localisation steadily reduces demand by expatriates for leased high-end residential units, currently accounting for about half our portfolio, Eton's future developments in the residential segment will be mainly for sale,' Mr Tan said. 'We will focus more sharply on our role as a developer of hotels, large commercial projects in new or soon-to-be developed areas, as well as middle-to high-end residential properties.' The new strategy was unveiled yesterday in Hong Kong by Mr Tan, who established the local property firm in 1986. Eton Properties owns 1.6 million square feet of property valued at HK$12.2 billion. Compared with Mr Tan's global investment portfolios, mainly in the Philippines, his Hong Kong investments are relatively small. His main business interests include Fortune Tobacco, which has 70 per cent of the Philippine cigarette market, and Asia Brewery, which commands a significant share of the Philippine beer market. He became a major shareholder and chairman of Philippine Airlines after a long power struggle. It was reported recently that Mr Tan was accused by the Supreme Court of the Philippines of evading more than US$1 billion in taxes with his huge businesses in the country. In Hong Kong, Mr Tan is embarking on a plan to make Eton a bigger player in the territory's property market. Last month, the company formed a consortium with Prestige Properties, Cosco (HK) and Japan-based Nissho Iwai Hong Kong Corp to submit a tender for the residential project at the planned Tung Chung station along the new airport railway. Eton Properties and Prestige Properties each owns a 35 per cent stake in the consortium, with 20 per cent owned by Cosco and 10 per cent by the Japanese firm. Eton owns several major investment properties, including residential project Queen's Garden at Old Peak Road, commercial projects Dragon Centre in Shamshuipo, Kowloon and Radio City in Causeway Bay. Carmen's Garden in Cox's Road in Kowloon, the company's first residential development built for sale, will be launched next month at an average price of $10,000 per square foot. The company's group financial controller, Alan Kwan, said the company had acquired nearly a million square feet of agricultural land near Shek Kong and had been snapping agricultural land in Sai Kung. The move is aimed at enlarging its land bank in the territory.