Property agents are bracing for more market competition as a new but familiar face prepares to enter the fray. Developer Sino Land Company has announced it will be expanding into the property agency business next month. Sino Estates Management general manager Andy To said the company would set up a new unit to handle both primary and secondary property transactions. The unit will have a staff of 10. Initially, the new agency arm will focus mainly on leasing. Mr To said leasing was expected to account for about 70 per cent of the unit's revenue. More than half of the unit's business would come from the Sino Group's 150 properties, he added. A Sino Land spokeswoman said no further details were available because the company was still finalising plans. Meanwhile, Centaline Property Agency and Midland Realty, the city's two dominant property agencies, said it was no great surprise that developers wished to tap into real estate agency business. Neither company had fears that Sino Estate Management would erode their market share. Centaline executive director Louis Chan Wing-kit said he did not think developers these days depended too heavily on the revenue they made from their property agency businesses because property sales accounted for the bulk of the companies' profits. He said developers mainly set up property agency arms as a one-stop-shop to facilitate in-house property sales, especially in the buy-to-let luxury residential market. Midland Realty vice-chairman and executive director Victor Cheung Kam-shing said: 'It's like a 7-Eleven selling stamps. It's not a big-money business, but it would not hurt to provide customers with one more service.' He said that Hong Kong's major developers had started setting up their own real estate brokering arms before the 1990s to aid the sale of apartments built by their companies. Cheung Kong Holdings sold Hong Kong Property Services (Agency), which it had bought in 1996, to Midland Realty in 2002 amid intense competition and a depressed property market, when prices had slumped by more than 50 per cent after the peak of 1997. 'To survive in this competitive marketplace depends on how well you fight in the network war,' said Mr Cheung.