Retail property landlords in Guangzhou hope to tap capital from Hong Kong investors with the attraction of a strong economy and rising retail property market. A rental yield of 10 per cent per year, compared with the average 4 per cent in Hong Kong, coupled with Guangzhou's booming economy were strong lures for domestic and Hong Kong investors, property consultants said. Last year, Guangzhou's economic growth reached an eight-year high with a 15 per cent increase over 2002. Centaline (China) said prices in the retail secondary market in Guangzhou soared 47 per cent year on year in the first half because of growing investment interest in the market. Prices for street shops along Shangiu Road and Xiajiu Road - the two busiest shopping streets in Guangzhou - rocketed by 87 per cent to 150,000 yuan per square metre for the year to last month. Taking advantage of the encouraging figures, eight domestic and Hong Kong developers including Shun Tak Holdings and China Overseas Land and Investment are offering more than 200 shops worth about 200 million yuan in Guangzhou to woo Hong Kong investors. About 60 per cent of the 200 shops are on the ground floors of major residential developments in various districts in Guangzhou, and the balance are high street shops owned by individuals. Sole agent Hopefluent Group, which primarily targets mainland property sales, said the retail properties were available for 800,000 yuan to eight million yuan each. 'It is a rare opportunity for Hong Kong investors to buy new retail properties as most developers will hold them for lease,' Hopefluent Group director Fu Wai-chung said. He said some of the projects were being released in Hong Kong before Guangzhou. Shun Tak is selling street-level shops in the residential development Huangpu Garden, in Huangpu, while China Overseas has released 80 shops at its luxury residential development Elegant Tower to attract Hong Kong buyers. Centaline (China) Guangzhou branch sales director Fa Yong-neng said retail properties in prime locations would see a substantial rise in value over the next six years because the government was committed to improving infrastructure. 'We have received more than 2,000 inquiries from Hong Kong clients who want to invest in Guangzhou's retail property market this year. The number is double that of 2003,' Mr Fa said. 'Most buyers in Guangzhou are taking a long-term view instead of reselling them for quick profit. Therefore, speculation is not as rampant as in Hong Kong.' Hong Kong investors mostly focus on key areas such as Tianhe, Laiwan and Yuexiu districts. 'Finding retail premises available for sale along Shangiu Road and Xiajiu Street in Laiwan is extremely difficult because demand is strong,' Mr Fa said. 'The two streets provide the best potential for investment,' he said.