MACAU'S future economic plans will target small and medium-sized investments from South Asian countries, Macau Investment Promotion Office (MIPO) president Jose Romao says. As part of the European Community Investment Partners scheme, Macau would provide financial packages to joint ventures with community members, he said. Mr Romao said investors could set up headquarters in Macau to make use of the territory's facilities and build factories in the special economic zones of Guangdong province, taking advantage of the abundant land and labour supply. China had joined the EC Investment Partners scheme in July, he said. Under the scheme, a member country could offer financial packages to joint ventures with EC members. Financial support includes interest rates as low as three to four per cent for ventures in certain industries. In Macau, it covers the electronics, food-processing, pottery manufacturing and chemical sectors. Joint ventures with a minimum 10 per cent share by a EC partner could also apply for back-up equipment and services. ''For small to medium-sized firms, they can get the support equivalent to $1 million,'' Mr Romao said. Resources for business research and labour training were also available, he said. Macau would not compete with Hong Kong, but be an alternative for investors, he said. ''Macau's office rent is much lower than that of Hong Kong.'' He said the European Information Centre, which handles inquiries on legislation and economic policies of the EC member countries, would be an advantage to Macau. Mr Romao emphasised the activities aimed to promote southern China as a strategic region. MIPO technician Lee Peng-hong said Macau had formed closer economic ties with China in recent years. Many mainland investors injected capital into the territory, with the property market ranking foremost. MIPO has announced that the Macau International Conference will be held from November 25 to 27 in Macau.