HONGKONG goldsmiths are taking advantage of the freer flow of the yuan across the border to accept the currency as payment for gold. ''Mainlanders like to buy gold to keep value as they fear the yuan will keep depreciating,'' said Chow Sang Sang Jewellery Co senior manager Kwok Tung. Since Monday, people leaving China can take with them up to 6,000 yuan, ending 40 years of currency isolation. ''Accepting yuan for gold sales may be able to help our gold market to grow. Mainlanders now have high spending power, with their abundant savings,'' said Mr Kwok of a Hongkong gold market which had been largely stable in recent years. ''In the past, mainlanders would try to take Hongkong dollars with them and buy gold here. Now we hope to attract more customers by accepting yuan. Chow Sang Sang is only one of the number of Hongkong goldsmiths which has opened its doors to the yuan. Chow Tai Fook is another. ''People from China like buying gold in Hongkong because its price is attractive here. Also, gold ornaments are of a high standard here,'' said Mr Leung Yee-keung, a branch manager of Chow Tai Fook. In addition, he said, gold was about 10 per cent cheaper in the territory than in China. A goldsmith quotes a price in yuan with an exchange rate it sets against Hongkong dollar. For instance, Chow Sang Sang charges 115 yuan for every $100 on the price tag. Mr Kwok said this was the black market rate in China. ''Some of them buy gold and gold ornaments for their own use or as gifts. However, I know some are going to sell them back in China and make a profit,'' he said, referring to bulk buyers. They would find some way to escape custom duties when they crossed the border to China, Mr Kwok said.