The lack of Putonghua skills in Hong Kong is a barrier to attracting investment from parts of China where Cantonese is not spoken, a Guangdong entrepreneur warned yesterday. Cai Shuqiang said although language difficulties would not deter mainlanders from investing in the city, it remained a barrier. He urged government officials to speak Putonghua more often when dealing with mainland investors. 'Hong Kong should not be content with just attracting investors from Guangdong province who also speak Cantonese, but those from all parts of the mainland, so we hope Putonghua can gradually become popular in Hong Kong,' said Mr Cai, director of Guangzhou Allplaces Electrical Appliances, who is in Hong Kong with a delegation of more than 60 executives of privately owned companies. The city was still an attractive place to raise capital or set up companies, said Mr Cai, who set up a local subsidiary five years ago. Mike Rowse, director-general of InvestHK - a co-organiser of the visit - said up to June, 736 Guangdong enterprises had received approval to invest US$2.98 billion in the city.