Hutchison Whampoa has expressed an intention to provide air-freight services alongside Shenzhen-listed Shenzhen Airport, operator of Shenzhen Huangtian International Airport. An official of the airport company secretary's office yesterday confirmed the conglomerate's intention but gave no specific plans and timetable. 'Yes, Hutchison has an intention to co-operate with us on cargo handling and air freight forwarding operations,' the official said, adding that Hutchison was represented by a subsidiary. 'It is hoped that the tie-up will result in the diversion of some cargo from Hong Kong to Huangtian airport.' Huangtian, with only a handful of airline customers, pales in comparison with Hong Kong's Chek Lap Kok airport in air traffic, which has 188 passenger flights leaving Hong Kong every day. About 55 per cent of Hong Kong's cargo is carried on passenger flights. Officials of Hutchison could not verify the news yesterday. Analysts believe the expected move will enable Hutchison, already operating Yantian container terminal and warehouse distribution in Shenzhen, to offer a fully fledged logistics service in the city with bigger cost savings to clients. As part of the deal, the official said the possible tie-up might lead to Hutchison taking a stake in Shenzhen Airport, although the Wen Wei Po reported yesterday the deal would involve a share transfer where Hutchison would become Shenzhen Airport's biggest shareholder. 'It is premature to talk about the stake, given the industrial policies and government regulations foreign investors have to comply with,' the official said. Shenzhen Airport Group, controlled by Shenzhen municipal government, holds about two-thirds of Shenzhen Airport in the form of mainlanders'-only A shares. The rest of the shares are held by the mainland public. Beijing is relaxing its tight grip on most sectors to facilitate faster reform ahead of expected entry to the World Trade Organisation later this year. However, it still retains control over most sectors, capping the maximum holding foreign investors can own. Beijing Capital International Airport, the mainland's largest, sold 35 per cent of its shares to foreigners through a listing in Hong Kong this year. Analysts say foreign investors will be allowed to take equity stakes in mainland companies.