THE sale of Hutchison Mobile Data to Motorola marks a new turn in a bold experiment to put Hongkong ahead of the world in mobile communications technology. ''We set the world standard. MobileQuote went far past what anyone had done before for the amount of information on a portable modem,'' said former managing director Mr Waleed Hanafi. The deal for Hutchison to sell its 70 per cent stake in the venture to Motorola, which already held 30 per cent, is due to be concluded later this month. At the same time, Motorola is selling a five per cent stake in Hutchison Paging back to Hutchison. Mr Hanafi, who left the company after the announcement of the Motorola takeover, said the firm's ground-breaking efforts in developing applications, such as MobileBet and MobileQuote, had run ahead of product delivery. ''While we had the network and the applications for these products, manufacturing never kept up, but the reality is that it is difficult to build a portable radio modem,'' said Mr Hanafi. ''When we started five years ago, we were way ahead of the curve. But the Connection Box which was marketable in 1988, is completely unmarketable in 1993.'' Hutchison made the decision to pull out of Hutchison Mobile Data (HMD) in a review of its telecommunications commitments last October. ''Hutchison were yeoman investors, way beyond the call of duty,'' said Mr Hanafi. The firm has retained an option to buy back into HMD in three years' time. ''Motorola is comfortable with future development business and Hutchison with mature operating business,'' said Mr Hanafi. Mr Hanafi said nobody was made redundant outside of the managing director's office. An ironic twist to the HMD experience is that great advances in wireless technology have been made in recent months. A number of launches of hand-held units are expected later this year, the most notable being General Magic, a joint venture that includesApple, Sony, Matsushita and Motorola.