CHENGDU, the capital of Sichuan province, is to finalise preliminary agreements with foreign investors for an underground transport project in the city. According to Chengdu officials, a Hongkong firm has shown interest in the project and an initial agreement will be concluded at a trade fair organised by the provincial government in Hongkong. The proposed underground rail system is one of the major projects being offered for foreign participation at the fair. The first phase will be the development of an 11.62 km network at a cost of about 2.6 billion yuan (about HK$3.5 billion at official rates). The second phase will cost 2.5 billion yuan for a further 11.12 km. Ms Zhou Lirong, vice-director of the Planning Commission of Chengdu, said the project had yet to be approved by the central government. Besides bringing in foreign investors, the city would consider borrowing from Japan and France to finance the project, she said. Chengdu Vice-Mayor He Yongxian said about 300 projects, including industrial, property, commercial and infrastructure developments, would be offered at the week-long trade fair, which opens today. Mr He said 15 plots of land totalling some 180,000 sq metres were available for foreign participation. They formed a major part of an urban redevelopment programme. Chengdu is also trying to tap foreign capital for a power plant, which will need 1.4 billion yuan. Mr He estimated the 300 projects would be able to attract a total investment of US$2.4 billion. He also said Hongkong companies were the most active investors in Chengdu. It is estimated that about one billion yuan of capital has been committed for property developments in Chengdu, of which about 40 per cent came from Hongkong.