HUTCHISON Whampoa, Hopewell Holdings, New China Hongkong Group and Bank of China Group head the list of Hongkong investors being asked to invest in infrastructure, industrial and property projects in Hebei province. Hebei vice-governor Chen Liyou is leading a 40-member provincial delegation on a promotional visit to the territory. The group has met a number of Hongkong businessmen since arriving last Tuesday. Discussions were held with Hopewell managing director Gordon Wu Ying-sheung, and senior executives of Hutchison, New China Hongkong and Bank of China. Mr Chen said Hutchison was interested in investing in highways and power plant projects, but added that discussions were still at a preliminary stage. He said Hutchison gave no intention of participating in the Huanghua port development this time, although the group had been reportedly interested. Besides Hutchison, Bank of China wants to invest in a number of projects in Hebei, including highways, power plants and industrial enterprises, according to Mr Chen. He said Bank of China was particularly interested in participating in the restructuring of state-owned enterprises. The group was expected to conclude plans for some projects in July during Hebei's trade fair in Hongkong, he added. At the fair, the province will offer some 2,000 projects for foreign participation and investment. The Hebei delegation has outlined 143 major infrastructure, industrial and property projects for which it is seeking investment. Highway projects include the 2.7 billion yuan (about HK$3.66 billion) development of a 222 km Beijing-Shijiazhuang highway, the 980 million yuan 69 km Shijiazhuang-Taiyuan highway, the 1.8 billion yuan 126 km Xuanhua-Datong highway, and the 1.6 billion yuan 108 km Tianjin-Baoding highway. Other infrastructure projects include development of the Huanghua port, mainly for the handling of coal, with the erection of four 35,000-ton berths. Three 10,000-ton cargo berths will also be built. The province is also building two 35,000-tonne berths at Tangshan port, and plans to build four 15,000-tonne berths. Tangshan has been approved by Beijing to become an international port. Six major power plant projects are on offer, including a US$726 million scheme to install four 300,000-kilowatt generators at the Hanfeng plant, a $267 million plan to install two 300,000 kilowatt generators at the Xibopo plant, and a $617 million schemeto install two 600,000-kilowatt generators at the Huanghua plant. Share interest in about 170 state-owned enterprises will be on sale to foreign investors in order to restructure and improve their operations. Mr Chen said an increasing number of state-owned firms in Hebei were in the process of restructuring into shareholding entities. There were now some 130 unlisted shareholding companies in Hebei, and the provincial government had gained Beijing's approval to list two of its enterprises on the stock markets in Shanghai or Shenzhen this year, he said. In the long term, the province's enterprises would seek overseas listings through formal applications or buying shell companies for back-door listings, he said. On real estate development, Mr Chen said Hebei was adopting a three-pronged strategy to ensure a balanced supply of properties. Besides development of quality hotels, commercial buildings and houses, the focus was on construction of middle-range residential properties for domestic sales and redevelopment of city areas for commercial purposes, he said.