You may have your doubts about the man, but when Li Ka- shing sets out to improve his net worth you can get quite a nice ride on his coat-tails if you know where they are. Take his latest venture, Global Transport Exchange (GTX), a Web site (oops, portal these days) 90 per cent owned by Hutchison, which aims to become the global leader in on-line transactions for the US$800 billion a year spent on the global freight market. With Hutchison operating 120 berths in 18 ports around the world it should be one of those rare things, an Internet company that makes money. Let your correspondent make his declaration here. He is a very pleased Hutchison shareholder but, like any investor, he wants even more and here is his suggestion on how to run this new venture. It may be exactly what Mr Li already has in mind. Who knows? We start by making Hutch pay GTX a fat service charge. It does not really matter how big it is. Hutch gets 90 per cent of it back anyway. We also make this a three to five-year contract to give it an appearance of permanence. We cannot reasonably ask for longer, can we? This provides the immediate base of GTX profits. As these roll in we roll out the talk about further unlimited growth potential, ignoring the fact that competitors will not want to show Hutch their hand by using GTX themselves. When everything is then good and hot we list it at a huge earnings multiple on Nasdaq, which has already been chosen for the listing on the grounds that GTX will be a global business. So much for Brother Ka-shing, the patron saint of the Growth Enterprise Market. But the key here is that we are only listing the cash flow from Hutch's contract with GTX. Hutch just takes what it already has, paints it pink, ties a nice blue ribbon around it and offers it anew. Will the punters line up for this? You betcha they will. None of that land at the Kwai Chung container port goes into GTX, however. Hutchison keeps it all and this is the important point. Why? For the very good reason that it makes increasingly less sense to funnel exports from across the border through the Shenzhen customs chokepoint and then the busy roads of Hong Kong. It is expensive and market forces will eventually take the port business across the border too. Now your correspondent does not have an exact figure for how much land Hutchison sits on at Kwai Chung. It is probably not 100 hectares, but let's call it 50. Time for arithmetic. The maximum plot ratio for something truly dense on the site would be about 15 times. Let's adjust for roads and other facilities and call it eight times. This would yield 43.5 million square feet of built up floor area. All of this is good sea-front land near the city centre and right beside the Mass Transit Railway and high-speed road links, in other words, a perfect residential project worth at least HK$5,000 a square foot at today's prices. Your figure of total value is now HK$217 billion. Hutch will never pocket this much of course. It may not get eight times and it will have to pay for construction and lease conversion premiums. So what? It will be a big figure no matter what you do with it. But is this what Mr Li has in mind? Let's go by the record. He is a property developer and it is just the sort of thing he has done at Whampoa Gardens, City Gardens, Provident Centre, South Horizons and a long list of others. Do you really think it hasn't occurred to him? So buy a beribboned retread listing such as GTX if you want. It is only a way of exploiting Internet fever to squeeze some more market capitalisation out of Kwai Chung before the big play is made. Your correspondent is sticking with his Hutch. That's where Mr Li's coat-tails lie.