The developers will target second-tier cities for mainland property investment Cheung Kong (Holdings) and Hutchison Whampoa will significantly increase their investment in mainland property this year as they diversify into less developed mainland cities. The developers, controlled by Li Ka-shing, would spend about 1.4 billion yuan to build a commercial complex near a Tianjin underground railway station, and recently bought a residential site in Changsha, for more than 300 million yuan, said Raymond Chow Wai-kam, managing director of Hutchison Whampoa Properties. 'There are more investment opportunities arising from second-tier cities. It is easier to find suitable sites there,' Mr Chow said. 'Only a small number of sites in Shanghai's prime locations are released each year, and you have to face competition from overseas developers, such as those from Singapore, aside from rivals from Hong Kong.' The commercial project on Yingkou Road Station in Tianjin, was a joint venture with the city's underground railway operator and would be completed in 2008, Mr Chow said. The two companies would take possession of the Changsha site by the end of the year, he said. The developers bought a residential site in Chengdu for 347.2 million yuan earlier this month, as Hutchison has been aggressively building up its China land bank. A venture formed by Cheung Kong, Hutchison and a mainland partner is bidding against a subsidiary of Sun Hung Kai Properties for a 614,000 square metre residential site with a plot ratio of five in Lujiazui, one of Shanghai's most expensive districts. Mr Chow said the venture was invited recently to bid on a 20,300 square metre commercial site, with a plot ratio of 9.83 in Lujiazui. The development calls for a commercial tower with more than 80 floors. The firm is also studying the feasibility of bidding on two sites to be auctioned in Wuhan later this year. He said the focus on commercial property was due in part to government measures to cool off the property sector, which primarily affected residential sites. 'The main impact on the commercial segment is on project finance from mainland banks. But we don't face this obstacle,' Mr Chow said.