MKI Corporation has been given the rights to develop a billion-dollar new town in Sichuan province. The company has signed an agreement with the Land Bureau in the province and has been granted the right to develop 3,500 mou of land in Tin Hui Shan, Chengdu. MKI Corporation director Mr Stephen Wong Hung-kee said the area would be developed into a new town in phases. The first phase would cover 1,500 mou and construction costs would be $1.5 billion. Mr Wong explained the company would not require a great deal of capital, as it would have the right to sell the land. The money realised from land sales would be reinvested in further development and construction. The project comprises a residential area, recreational area, industrial space, cultural community centre, commercial centre and a school. ''Given the average plot ratio of three times and construction costs of $100 per square foot, the construction should cost about $1.5 billion for the first phase,'' said Mr Wong. He explained that the company had a 90-per cent stake in the project - which it would provide plans for - with the remainder held by the municipal authorities. As well as the property development, the company is also negotiating with the Grain and Oil Bureau in Sichuan to renovate its outlets into convenience stores. ''We have agreed to help them modernise five stores to start with,'' said Mr Wong. Sichuan Grain and Oil Bureau has 18,000 outlets in Sichuan. MKI has been actively involved in investment in Sichuan. It announced two property development projects in March.