Major cities' rail stations to be revamped

Kenneth Ko

NEW China Hongkong Group proposes to redevelop railway stations in major cities including Beijing, Wuhan and Shenyang.

Group chairman Tsui Tsin-tong said it had raised with Beijing authorities the idea of turning old railway stations into modern complexes incorporating shopping arcades, restaurants and possibly hotels.

He said his group was preparing a proposal on such projects, which was expected to be submitted to the Ministry of Railways within two months.

Mr Tsui said New China Hongkong Group intended to take a majority stake in the proposed developments, which would be joint ventures with the Chinese authorities.

However, the proposal was still at the drafting stage and the capital investment involved in each of such projects would be subject to the final size of redevelopment approved by the Chinese authorities, he said.

New China Hongkong Group, a newly-formed investment vehicle involving Hongkong, Singapore and Chinese interests, has embarked on a series of investment plans in China.

Projects in the pipeline include the development of a multi-purpose tower block in Beijing and road construction in Sichuan province.

Mr Tsui said the group was discussing plans to enter into joint ventures with the Shenyang Transformer Factory with a view to helping the mainland enterprise to obtain overseas listings.

He would not go into details of the proposed co-operation with the factory, as the deal had yet to be finalised.

According to Shenyang officials, Shenyang Transformer Factory has an annual production output of about 500 million yuan (officially about HK$673.5 million) and fixed assets worth about 300 million yuan.

New China Hongkong Group is forming a brokerage in the territory to assist mainland enterprises to go public on foreign stock markets including Hongkong.

Commenting on the decision of China's Hongkong and Macau Affairs Office not to take a minor stake in the group, Mr Tsui said it was because of widespread negative responses to the political body's possible involvement in a business concern.

Investors in New China Hongkong Group include the Trade Development Board of Singapore, Hongkong companies such as Century City Holdings and a number of Chinese companies and local governments.

Meanwhile, CNT Group, formerly China Paint Holdings, is studying plans to set up a paint manufacturing plant in Shenyang, the capital of China's northeast province Liaoning.

Mr Tsui, chairman of CNT Group, said the proposed facility in Shenyang would be the company's third paint factory in China.

However, he said the size of the plant's operation and capital investment had yet to be finalised.

CNT's two other plants are located in Shajing and Wuhan.

Mr Tsui revealed the investment plans of New China Hongkong Group and CNT Group after a press briefing for visiting Chinese officials from Shenyang to announce Shenyang's forthcoming trade fair in Hongkong next month.

Shenyang's vice-mayor Liu Ketian said more than 700 projects would be offered for foreign participation at the week-long trade starting from May 13.