Hong Kong have qualified for the revamped World Cup in Reading, England, in January after reaching the semi-finals of the inaugural Asian Cup team event in Bangkok yesterday. The SAR's snooker chief Joseph Lo Chun-ying said his team, led by world number 17 Marco Fu Ka-chun, were relishing the opportunity to play against the top professionals after seeing the trio of Fu, Chan Kwok-ming and Au Chi-wai win all their three group matches to book their place in Reading. 'Marco has competed against the top players in recent years but it will be challenging for Chan and Au. It's also important for us to keep the reputation as one of the best teams in Asia,' Lo said. Top-seeded Hong Kong, who beat Malaysia, Pakistan and United Arab Emirates, were due to play Thailand late last night in the semi-finals. When the World Cup was staged in 1996, also in Reading, Hong Kong came third in the group. But the World Snooker Association scrapped the competition and replaced it with the Nations Cup for British teams. However, the association must have considered its decision to invite three teams - Malta, Thailand and a China-Hong Kong joint side - to take part in the Nations Cup earlier this year a success as it has now decided to return to the old World Cup name and format.