Guangzhou will invest 30 billion yuan (about HK$28.1 billion) in basic infrastructure in Nansha over the next three years, according to executive vice-mayor Zhang Guangning. It is the most specific indication to date of the scale of Guangzhou's spending plans for Nansha, a Pearl River island and the focus of the city's long-term development plans. 'Nansha is located at the geographic centre of the Pearl River Delta and is our best area for future development,' Mr Zhang was quoted as saying in local newspapers yesterday. He was speaking at the ceremony for the Shazai bridge, the first major infrastructure project slated for Nansha. The kilometre-long bridge is one of many road projects planned for Nansha. By 2005, Guangzhou expects to build 218km of new roads in the area, and an expressway will cut the travel time from downtown Guangzhou to Nansha in half to about 30 minutes. The infrastructure spending plans are good news for Hong Kong tycoon Henry Fok Ying-tung, who has invested about HK$2.5 billion in business and recreational facilities on Nansha. The facilities, including conference and shopping centres, have been little used in part because of Nansha's relative isolation. Development blueprints released by Guangzhou also detailed the government's industrial strategy for the area. Guangzhou intends to build a shipbuilding facility, a petrochemicals storage and shipping facility and a high-technology zone in Nansha proper. The last of these will be built around the Nansha IT Park, a joint venture involving Mr Fok, the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and a Guangzhou-controlled venture-capital company. On Longxue island, just south of Nansha, Guangzhou is proceeding with plans to build a logistics centre, a deepwater port and two heavy industrial zones for petrochemical and iron and steel plants. Guangzhou will relocate many of its heavy-industry, state-owned enterprises to Nansha and Longxue. Most of the enormous outlay required for Guangzhou's Nansha investments will be financed with bank debt. Earlier this year, China Development Bank Guangzhou and China Construction Bank Guangdong said they would lend 62 billion yuan towards Nansha's development over five years.