The Hong Kong Science Park has received an enthusiastic response to the leasing of its office premises from local and international companies. Daniel Lam, director of marketing and development at the Provisional Hong Kong Science Park Co, said interested companies have applied for or have committed to more than 90 per cent of the 1.3 million square feet of the park's first phase premises. Although marketing started only last November, the response has been very strong, he said. So far, seven tenants have committed to leasing a total of 210,000 sq ft in the park while 18 applicants have expressed their interest in taking up most of what remains in the first phase. The committed tenants include integrated circuit-developer Solomon Systech, Group Sense (International), pharmaceutical group Kinetana, ON Semiconductor, Analogic Tech and Scarborough (Hong Kong). The science park is being built on a 22-hectare site at Pak Shek Kok, across Chinese University in Tai Po, facing the Tolo Harbour. It will be developed in three phases over a period of nine years, and will provide a total floor area of 3.55 million sq ft for residential, retail and office uses. In addition to phase one, the second and third phases will each involve 1.13 million sq ft of space. The first offices are expected to be ready by late 2001. Mr Lam said the park aimed to attract hi-tech companies to help jump-start Hong Kong's information technology (IT) and other hi- tech industries. Multinational and start-up companies in four areas - IT and telecommunications, bio-technology, electronics and precision engineering - are being invited to put up their research and development operations in the park. The aim is to build a community of creative people and enterprises that can work closely together. Currently, the office spaces are being rented at $8 to $9 per sq ft a month, depending on the type of building leased and the profile of the tenant. A rent-free period for fitting out purposes may be granted to the tenants. Mr Lam said the rentals offered were based on market rates and tenancy periods ranging from six to nine years. While rental was one consideration, the most important task for the park would be to provide a good environment with sufficient facilities, he said. The park is developing three types of building for lease, namely corporate, campus and core. Corporate buildings face Tolo Harbour, aimed at larger users of more than 50,000 sq ft who want an individual image. Campus buildings, on the southwest section, are meant for medium-sized companies looking for 20,000 to 50,000 sq ft of premises. The central area will be occupied by the core buildings which will form the backbone of the park and are meant for tenants requiring spaces of 20,000 sq ft and less. The corporate type had become the most sought-after building as many companies required large amounts of space, Mr Lam said, adding that the companies now applying for a space include a number of corporations known globally.