The handful of Hong Kong companies attending the fourth China Hi-Tech Fair in Shenzhen, indicated they were in no hurry to compete in the vast mainland market. This year marked the third time Hong Kong companies were able to join the fair at the Hong Kong Pavilion, jointly organised by the Innovation and Technology Commission and Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks. Speaking at the opening ceremony, Permanent Secretary for Information Technology and Broadcasting Francis Ho Suen-wai said Hong Kong companies should utilise their experience and knowledge in finance and logistics to develop IT businesses and partnerships on the mainland. 'It will be difficult for them to compete in the fields of IT infrastructure and architecture in China because there are already many sizeable mainland firms working on it,' Mr Ho said. They should stick to their strengths when choosing a field. Mr Ho said Hong Kong's small and mid-sized enterprises should increase their exposure to the mainland. 'By joining functions similar to this one and those organised by Productivity Council and Trade Development Council, they can exchange ideas and establish relationships with mainland developers.' Meanwhile, Chinese Manufacturers' Association chairman Chan Wing-kee, said local companies could make money by helping mainland firms turn their inventions into marketable products in Hong Kong. 'What Hong Kong possesses are our capital, knowledge in financing and marketing, and our understanding and networking in both local and international markets. Hong Kong companies should utilise what they have and assist the mainland hi-tech businesses to develop their export market,' he said. Hong Kong distributor Synergy Technologies was one of the 15 local companies in the pavilion. Country manager for China Alex Choy said Synergy hoped to bring in Orinoco wireless local area network solutions to mainland users. 'Wireless connectivity has been gaining popularity all over the world and we believe China is going to be no exception.' The company hoped the fair would help the firm meet potential distributors and channel partners within China. 'China is a totally different market from Hong Kong - the model of partnership may not work here. We need to get a different approach, understand their consumer behaviour and figure out how to lower the price with the high tariffs in China.' Waste and Environmental Technologies managing director Leung Wai-on said his firm had already established itself in Hong Kong as well as overseas markets such as Britain, Taiwan and Switzerland but it had not yet tapped the mainland market. 'With our worldwide recognised patents, it just requires signing of contracts and credit transaction when we launch overseas. However, we need to spend much time in communicating and socialising with the officials when we want to do business in China,' he said. 'If we leave Hong Kong in the morning, we will have arrived in Britain at night. But in China we still may not have reached our destination. The travel and opportunity costs in getting into the China market are higher than going to the United States. 'We will definitely enter the mainland market but if we do it now too eagerly, it may be an obstacle in the long run,' Mr Leung said.