David Woo King-wai has spent some time at the family securities business, but he claims to know little about finance. Since other family members took the job on, he has been able to concentrate on the listing and expansion into China of his design and construction firm, he told. IN sharp contrast to the high-profile accomplishments of his late father Woo Hon-fai, CIL Holdings chairman David Woo King-wai keeps a low-key approach in his social and business life. Only when his company sought a public listing in July did the 49-year-old architect-turned-businessman succumb to the need for a promotional drive for the company's share offering. In fact, David Woo never intended to imitate his father's success in the bullion and securities industries. Mr Woo senior, then known as ''Mr Gold'', was chairman of the stock exchange and an outstanding political and business leader in Hong Kong. ''I am not very interested in finance and securities. My interest is in architecture, and building and engineering-related activities,'' says Mr Woo, the eldest son of Woo Hon-fai. ''My father never pushed us to do something we don't like.'' Although Mr Woo was involved part-time with his family's bullion business in the 1970s and early 1980s, his first love was his architecture firm, founded in 1974. When his younger brother Henry Wu King-cheong - chairman of the Hong Kong Stockbrokers' Association - promised to help in the bullion and securities businesses, Mr Woo threw himself back into his own business. In 1984, Mr Woo established CIL as a specialist in building-related contracting work and trading of interior decoration materials. The company later branched out to electrical and mechanical engineering, and recently construction. Mr Woo flatly says that he knows little about securities and that he is not the kind of man courting quick profits in share investments. ''I don't pay much attention to the market's movements. My attention is concentrated on my work at CIL,'' he said. CIL's share price since its listing in July has been relatively steady. Speculation has not been strong in the stock. CIL shares closed at $1.15 last Friday. Taking into account the attached free warrant, that represents a premium of about 20 per cent over the issue price of $1 per share. Mr Woo says CIL is expanding its business following the listing. The group has recently diversified into property development, with the commitment to two commercial and tourism joint ventures in Sanya, Hainan Island. CIL has taken a 40 per cent stake in a 400 million yuan (about HK$536 million at the official rate) project to build a shopping complex on a 125,960 square metre site. Chinese partners include Hainan Dashing Industry Joint Stock Co and Hainan Bank of China International Co. The second project, which will cost about 600 million yuan, is a five-star hotel development 68 per cent owned by Sun Chung Kin Development. Sun Chung Kin is equally owned by CIL, Sun Hung Kai Properties and Bank of China Haikou Trust and Consultancy Co. Mr Woo says Beijing's macro-economic measures to cool the economy have created an opportunity for CIL to go into China's property market. ''Land prices in Hainan have dropped quite a lot following the retrenchment policy, and it's time to make a move,'' he says. Although Sanya is still a little-known city to Hong Kong people, the city will experience rapid development, particularly when an international airport is finished next year, he says. ''The new airport will be the biggest one in Hainan, and it will bring a great number of travellers - not only overseas tourists, but also a large number of domestic travellers - to Sanya.'' In anticipation of the potential business as visitor numbers grow, CIL's shopping complex will incorporate a range of offices, convention and exhibition space, and shopping and entertainment facilities. CIL has indeed benefitted from China's credit-tightening programme: it would not have been involved in the shopping complex in the absence of the retrenchment. According to Mr Woo, the site of the proposed shopping complex was originally awarded to another mainland firm through a public tender. But the mainland firm was unable to take up the project due to financial difficulties arising from the austerity programme. Hainan Dashing Industry, which offered the second highest bid at the tender, was then given the right to develop the site, and it involved CIL as a partner. Mr Woo says the price paid for the site by the joint-venture partners was more than 30 per cent less than the original offer price. CIL is negotiating for potential interior decoration and building contracts in Yantai, Shanghai and Dongguan, he says. The group is also in talks with Evergo, Henderson Land and Hang Lung Development for potential jobs with their property projects in China. ''We will not limit exposure to just a few developers for our contracting works. We are expanding our customer base,'' Mr Woo says. He says CIL has maintained a good business relationship with many developers such as Kumagai Gumi, Sun Hun Kai Properties, Cheung Kong (Holdings), Hutchison Whampoa and Lai Sun Development. It is also looking for potential interior decoration contracts with Guangdong Investment, which owns a five per cent stake in CIL, he says. CIL and Guangdong Investment will strengthen co-operation and they might team up for projects in China, he says. In Hong Kong, CIL recently secured an $11 million contract for interior decoration and electrical and mechanical engineering works for Goldlion Holdings' new headquarters building in Sha Tin. The group is soon to announce its results for the year to June 30. It is expected to reveal a profit before extraordinary items of not less than $38 million.