To buy, or not to buy? That is the question. Hong Kong investors are now being offered what, from the marketing brochures, appears to be a blissful future, made safe by the TraHK, the Government's multi-billion-dollar investment fund. The answer to the question is another question. Why? This must be the first query raised when any form of investment is considered. It would be a naive investor who did not raise it, and it is hard to believe that any Hong Konger would be that naive about money. One answer would appear to be that given by mountaineers when asked why they tackle a particular peak: 'Because it's there.' Usually, funds are launched because the manager sees an opportunity to develop a new product, or challenge an existing vehicle. TraHK has been launched because the Government had a lot of shares it needed to sell, and this hybrid fund concept was, some acknowledge, the least worse way of doing it. Whether such damningly faint praise, or the mere fact that the fund has been launched should be a reason for the public to rush out and buy it, is another matter. The Government's marketing agency's message is that this fund represents an investment in Hong Kong's future. In one go, investors get a product that follows exactly the Hang Seng Index. The second reason is that it is going to be a relatively cheap way into the market. When TraHK is formally put up for sale on October 25, it will be priced at a discount of up to 9 per cent if market guesswork is accurate. Its fees will also be capped at a low level. As an incentive to keep buyers of the fund in for the long term, the full prospectus will also contain details of a loyalty bonus. Whether these goodies will be enough to convince investors is the biggest question of all. As any fund marketing manager will tell you, Hong Kong is not an easy patch. The percentage penetration of funds remains in low single figures, and the industry acknowledges that it will require a comprehensive education programme to increase that figure substantially - which is why the Government has launched an advertisement bombardment to raise awareness about the TraHK. Tracker funds are an even harder sell. There were only two based on Hong Kong stocks and authorised for sale here before TraHK came along. The Hang Seng HSI Tracker is a full replica of the 33-stock Hang Seng Index. Manulife's fund is based on the Financial Times/Standard & Poor's Hong Kong Index, which is built up of 72 stocks. Local investors have hardly been breaking down the doors to buy existing trackers, so why should they snap up TraHK? Then again, it could be that the Government's timing - as it was when it first plunged into the market - could be uncanny. Tracker funds are growing in popularity, especially when applied to well-regulated markets - which does not include most of Asia outside Hong Kong. Their main attraction is that they are much cheaper to run than actively managed funds which chase individual stocks, and their performance has often been better, especially in bull markets. Support for the view that the tracker's time may be coming in Hong Kong arrived from established-fund management groups. Earlier this month, Hang Seng Bank launched a basket of index funds which track a nicely diversified spread of top markets. Last week saw the launch of Barclays' Global Multinational Fund. Its top 10 holdings include brands such as Microsoft, General Electric, Intel, Citigroup, Pfizer and Vodafone AirTouch - many of the world's most progressive firms. The TraHK, tied as it is to the Hang Seng Index, has a large number of stocks that are blasts from the past - as my colleague Jake van der Kamp pointed out last week. For the investor who wants to back Hong Kong's market, then, given a generous discount, this might be one way in. What it should not be is as an investor's entire portfolio. Ray Heath is pleased to receive general queries about investing in funds, but cannot offer investment advice or recommendations.