A group of tycoons tried to set up an advertising agency in China with Laurence Leung to handle their company's promotion. Director of the New China Hong Kong Group, Norman Leung Nai-pang, said the venture had attempted to open across the border for a year. The Government, in a letter to Mr Leung disapproving of his mainland business venture, said the company had been wound up because it failed to obtain a business licence in China. Mr Norman Leung said the group, a partnership of tycoons and mainland companies under powerful ministries brought together to invest in China projects, had to use an outside advertising agent. 'If we could get a licence, we could do it [the advertising] ourselves rather than give it to others. We never got what we wanted,' he said, without elaborating. Mr Norman Leung said he had lost only $3,000 in the venture through the formation of the company, New China Hong Kong Advertising Ltd. Mr Norman Leung said he did not know how Mr Laurence Leung had joined the firm. The South China Morning Post revealed yesterday the New China Hong Kong Group, with tycoon Tsui Tsin-tong as chairman, and legislator James Tien Pei-chun and Chinese 'princeling' Zhou Beifang among its directors, was a partner in the advertising venture. Mr Tien said he did not know the New China Hong Kong Group, in which he had a 0.4 per cent share, had business relations with Mr Laurence Leung until he read the newspaper. 'I was very shocked to see my name in the paper,' Mr Tien said. Mr Tien said he was only one among more than 40 directors in the company and he had not been notified about the issue. 'The project was never brought to the attention of the board of directors of New China Hong Kong Ltd so I absolutely have no knowledge that it tried to enter some kind of business with Mr Leung,' Mr Tien said. An arm of the Singapore Government, the second largest shareholder in New China Hong Kong Group, said it knew nothing of Mr Laurence Leung's involvement. Balagopal Nair, vice-president of TDB Holdings, owned by the Singapore Trade Development Board, said: 'Most decisions in this company are handled by an executive committee of only three individuals.' He said the direction of the firm had changed from trade to infrastructure and TDB Holdings would sell if it got a good offer.