Hainan Air Group has ordered three Boeing 737 freighters for a new cargo venture aimed initially at express delivery services in the mainland's coastal region. Yangtze River Express, a joint venture between Hainan and Shanghai Airport Group, would make its virgin flight after the arrival of its first freighter later in the week, said the group's executive vice-president Zhong Shu. 'Yangtze River Express is grabbing the high end of the market - domestic express freight,' he said yesterday. The new company, of which Hainan is the majority shareholder, is the second dedicated cargo carrier to enter the lucrative cargo business in the mainland behind China Cargo Airlines, a subsidiary of China Eastern Airlines. 'We got the approval from CAAC [General Administration for Civil Aviation in China] to be a pure freight operation and I don't think more rights will be granted,' Mr Zhong said. Yangtze River Express now ships cargo in the belly of Hainan's passenger fleet. The new service will take freight only following the arrival of the other two jets in the first half of this year. The carrier had registered capital of 200 million yuan (about HK$187.76 million), in which Hainan invested more than 100 million yuan, Mr Zhong said. He said Yangtze River Express might co-operate with international express carriers in the future as their ground networks were well developed. 'International express carriers cannot fly in China. But they have ground networks. It's possible for us to work with them in that sense,' he said. International express carriers such as DHL Worldwide Express, United Parcel Service (UPS), TNT Express Worldwide and Federal Express are eyeing the fast-growing market in the mainland. DHL, TNT and UPS operate in China as partners of Sinotrans, the major freight forwarder in the country.