Well-known in Hong Kong's racing circles, Charles Ming Ka-fook believes he has found a winner much faster than any of his runners on the track. The racehorse-owning tycoon and a friend, who declined to be named, have paid $27.1 million for a stake in a British company that is designing Jetpod, an 'air taxi' which Mr Ming believes will revolutionise urban travel. The project is so far advanced, according to Mr Ming, that by the end of the year the aircraft's components will be manufactured in China, for assembly in Britain. 'I am always interested in new technology,' said Mr Ming, whose business interests include Golden Galaxy, an aviation company based in Beijing. Called a 'Very Quiet Short Take-off and Landing' aircraft, Jetpod may one day whiz commuters around major metropolises at speeds of up to 550km/h, in scenes out of Star Wars or Blade Runner. Its designers say Jetpod will need a strip only 125-metres long for takeoff and will be quieter and cheaper than a helicopter. Mr Ming said he bought a stake in Avcen, the company that is designing Jetpod, after reading a report about the aircraft on the internet last year. 'I then phoned a friend in London to contact Mike [Dacre, the managing director of Avcen],' said Mr Ming, who, seven months after meeting Mr Dacre, invested in his company. 'This is the city aircraft of the future,' Mr Dacre said. 'Every time you see this aircraft in the air, it means there will be seven fewer cars on the road.' He said the British government was 'very keen' on Jetpod. The aircraft was undergoing certification for civil use in Europe and its engine - it will have two - was being tested in Detroit. According to Avcen's website, Jetpod's development is also being funded by the London Development Agency and the European Union's European Regional Development Fund. Mr Dacre said the aircraft would start production at the end of this year, with 165 made in the first year of production and 225 in the second. First orders would be supplied to military buyers, as these would not need the same certification required for civilian aircraft. He said the aircraft would cost GBP800,000 ($11 million), plus US$450,000 for both engines - cheaper than most helicopters. Eighty per cent of the components would be produced by a state-owned aerospace manufacturer in Shenyang , Liaoning. The engine would be supplied by Williams International in the US, with the final assembly in England.