Property investor eCyberChina.net is to buy 20 per cent of a technology consultancy firm for HK$91 million, paving the way for possible ownership of an Internet portal in China. The deal offers a prime example of indirect foreign participation in China's Internet business as Beijing strictly bans any such foreign ownership. Through the acquisition, eCyberChina.net and the consultancy firm Cred.net plan to provide e-commerce services related to property in China and develop a procurement system for buying construction materials. The consultancy firm's primary customer is its sister company PRCproperty.com, an anchor Web site of the mainland's largest property developer China National Real Estate Development Group (Cred). To settle the acquisition, eCyberChina.net plans to issue 70 million new shares, or 23.3 per cent of the enlarged share capital. The new shares are to be allotted equally between Cred.net's shareholders - Cred and Cayman Island-registered Kargill High Growth Fund, which invests in technology. Sale price of the shares is to be HK$1.30 a share, a 13.9 per cent discount to the closing price of HK$1.50 on February 12. Cred.net, set up last March, is valued at HK$460 million despite having a net assets deficiency and losing money. It suffered a net assets deficiency of HK$2.7 million between its date of incorporation and January 31, while the net loss in the period stood at HK$2.71 million. ECyberChina.net said no audited Cred.net accounts had been prepared. A company official yesterday justified the valuation, saying it had been conducted according to Cred.net's revenue model by an independent third party, LCH (Asia-Pacific) Surveyors. 'As Cred will pursue more than 1,000 affiliated companies around China to use [PRCproperty.com], we are very optimistic about its revenue,' she said.