Appointments made 10 months after the plan was announced The officials who will head Hong Kong's economic and trade offices in Shanghai and Chengdu have been named, 10 months after Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen proposed the idea in his maiden policy address. Patrick Chan Chi-king, former research director of the Central Policy Unit, will head the office in Shanghai, which will be ready to open by the middle of next month. Richard Luk Fong-chun, assistant director of the Home Affairs Department, will head the Chengdu office. A government source said Mr Chan would fly to Shanghai at the end of the month. A spokeswoman for the Constitutional Affairs Bureau confirmed that a team of staff had been sent last week to make the necessary arrangements after a suitable office was identified several weeks ago. It has taken the administration more than six months to prepare the offices since obtaining endorsement from the Legislative Council's Finance Committee in January. Each office will cost more than HK$20 million a year. A source close to the government said it was unreasonable for the administration to take that long to establish two mainland offices. 'The delay has been caused by a lack of senior officials willing to work on the mainland. Many officials have yet to adjust their mindset in this regard,' the source said. In response to the criticism, the spokeswoman said the projects were well on track. The administration also envisaged the Chengdu office would be operating next month, once the lease terms were settled, she added. The chief executive announced in October that the two offices, due to open in the third quarter of the year, would promote economic exchanges with eastern and southwestern areas of the mainland. Cheng Yiu-tong, chairman of the Federation of Trade Unions, hoped the offices would also handle issues of Hong Kong people living there. If Hong Kong people were in need of help, he was sure the offices would lend assistance, he said. Mr Cheng, an executive councillor, urged the government to set up more branches in provinces where a sufficient number of Hong Kong people work or live, to increase the assistance available. The labour union has centres in Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Dongguan to help Hongkongers. Legislator Jeffrey Lam Kin-fung, chairman of the Hong Kong Federation of Industries' Pearl River Delta Council, said the Guangdong Economic and Trade Office set up in July 2002 had fostered economic links, but was insufficient. 'Our investment and business opportunities shouldn't be limited to the Pearl River Delta,' he said. 'I hope the two offices will help Hong Kong businessmen to explore more business opportunities which we might have overlooked ... We have tours to the mainland to look at the business environment, but the duration is usually very short. 'We always say we're going to the north, but we cannot blindly go ... We need more information to facilitate our business expansion.'