Mainland tycoon Hui Wing-mau, who spearheaded the purchase of the eye-catching luxury house The Genesis on The Peak, has not yet satisfied his appetite for Hong Kong property. With interest rates continuing to fall and demand in the luxury sector steady, he is continuing to search for opportunities in Hong Kong. Mr Hui is chairman of the Shimao Group, which engages mainly in property development in Shanghai, Beijing and Fujian. The group recently took over Hong Kong-listed Dong Jian Tech.com Holdings, to be renamed as Shimao China Holdings, as its property flagship in Hong Kong. Last week, Dong Jian Tech.com acquired The Genesis for HK$230 million, or HK$8,400 per square foot, marking its first foray into substantial property investment in Hong Kong. 'This is probably the most expensive purchase for a single house so far in my life,' said Mr Hui, whose career spans more than 15 years in property development in the mainland and Hong Kong. He said the drastic price correction in the property market in Hong Kong in the past few years had presented good opportunities for investors. 'I would never have dreamt of buying the property in the boom days of the market a few years go. The price just went up too high,' he said. Mr Hui bought properties in Island South during 1996 and 1997 for investment, but prices of most luxury properties dived significantly following the financial crisis in 1997. 'I am glad to have a chance to buy The Genesis now. It's such a bargain price at the moment,' he said. Mr Hui said he was considering redevelopment plans for the luxury property. Located at 23 Severn Road, The Genesis was built by veteran investor Heung Chik-kau in 1989. It was sold to Pearl Oriental Holdings in late 1996 at a record-breaking HK$540 million in what was said to be the highest price for a single residence at that time. The property was seized by Bank of East Asia in July when troubled Pearl Oriental failed to repay a HK$326 million debt. Shimao's latest expansion in Hong Kong was considered by many investors as ambitious, particularly as many Hong Kong-based developers were moving into the mainland market because of the weakness of the SAR residential sector. Mr Hui, however, has faith in Hong Kong and is optimistic about the luxury residential sector in the next few years, despite the prevailing economic sentiment and the growing fear of a possible recession. 'Many investors will take advantage of the low interest rates. I think luxury property is one of the promising markets in terms of the high yields and stable demand,' he said, adding that Hong Kong remained one of the best cities for property developers because of its mature legal and tax systems. Mr Hui said there were no geographical constraints in his company's expansion plans. 'We property developers would look at all the major cities. It's all about making profit from our ventures there. It makes no difference to me whether the profit comes from the developments in Shanghai, Beijing or Hong Kong,' he said. Mr Hui said Shimao would continue to look at other luxury properties and prime office developments in Hong Kong for long-term investment. Ranked as the fifth-richest man in China by Forbes magazine, with wealth of reportedly 6 billion yuan (about HK$5.62 billion), the 51-year-old tycoon made his first fortune from textile and garment manufacturing in his home province of Fujian in the 1970s. In the late 1980s, Mr Hui made an aggressive move into the residential property field in Fujian, Lanzhou, Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong and even Australia, marking the watershed of his career. The group now has many large property developments in Shanghai, Beijing and Fujian, including a 220,000 square metre Shimao Riviera Garden luxury residential project in the waterfront area of Shanghai, with a total investment of 5 billion yuan. Mr Hui said Shimao planned to spend about 3 billion yuan to build a 60-storey hotel project in Nanjing Road in Shanghai as the group's landmark commercial development in the city. 'Property development in the mainland was quite rewarding in the old days,' said Mr Hui. 'Generally, many of my fellow developers could secure more than 50 per cent profit margins from the projects, thanks to the looser planning and legal rules at the time.' Now it was different, with tighter regulation by the Government, he said.