IN the far-sighted eyes of tycoon Henry Fok Ying-tung, Nansha new town in Panyu is a potential alternative to Discovery Bay for people who work in the territory. ''Now Hongkong people look north, especially in the run-up to 1997. When they find Nansha cheap and convenient to live in, they'll move there,'' he predicted. ''And transport between Hongkong and Nansha is now getting more convenient.'' Once the demand is there, he plans to start night runs and introduce discounts on the hydrofoil service and catamaran now operating between the two cities. A single cruise now takes about 90 minutes. The service is integral to his 51 per cent-owned Nansha new town project. A first draft of the project by Spanish architect Ricardo Bofill will be discussed among involved planners on March 12. ''I expect there will be major breakthroughs in the project in the coming half year, because so much work is now going on,'' said Mr Ho Kin-lap, vice-president of the Henry Fok Ying Tung group of companies, who declined to be more specific. The 22-square-kilometre Nansha new town will feature a 21-hole golf course of 405 hectares. The town plan, which includes a tourist centre, a commercial hub and a hi-tech and cultural centre, also has a 10,000-tonne transshipping port with a container terminal. ''From there goods can be shipped to Hongkong and other places,'' said Mr Fok prior to yesterday's opening ceremony for his Panyu container plant. Guangzhou Jindo Container Co is a joint venture between Mr Fok's flagship enterprise Yau Wing Co and partners from China, South Korea and Japan. The Chinese side is represented by Panyu government under the auspices of Panyu Shipbreaking Co. The Korean partners are Jindo Corp and Pohang Iron and Steel Co. Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) from Japan also has shares. Sales are projected at US$34 million this year, rising to $100 million in 1995. About 80 per cent of its production is for export. The company said the world's leading shipping companies and container rental firms, such as Korea's Hanjin, Holland's Nedlloyd and MOL, have placed orders with it.