The government's investment promotion arm is hoping to secure extra annual funding of at least HK$40 million from 2008-09 to help it expand to cope with an expected increase in workload, director-general Mike Rowse said yesterday. InvestHK has given itself a target of between 250 and 260 projects to complete this year, up from 246 last year. Mr Rowse also expects mainland companies to make up about a quarter of these projects within five years, up from 16.67 per cent now. He said that although InvestHK received an extra HK$200 million four years ago, the funds run out next year and, if discontinued, might limit the number of projects it could take on due to staffing constraints. InvestHK was set up in July 2000 and awarded the extra funding during the 2003 Sars outbreak. 'We were producing, in the early part of our life, between 100 and 120 projects a year. We were given an increase in funding of about 65 per cent and ... we've achieved a 100 per cent increase in results,' Mr Rowse said. About HK$30 million of the extra funds was received in the first year, with HK$42.5 million for each of the subsequent four years, ending in 2007-08. Mr Rowse has not spent all the extra annual allocation and will end up with a small surplus, but is in discussions with the government about making all or part of the funding permanent. He hopes to receive an answer by the third quarter of the year. Mr Rowse will not be responsible for how the funding is used as he will step down at 60 in two years. However, it is expected that much of the cash will go towards strengthening the department's operations in Guangzhou, Beijing, Shanghai and Chengdu . InvestHK completed 41 mainland projects last year - 16.67 per cent of the total and a 1 percentage point increase from 2005 - and Mr Rowse said there was no shortage of mainland firms looking to establish a presence in Hong Kong. The 246 projects completed last year represent a year-on-year increase of just over 6 per cent, down from roughly 13 per cent in 2005. Last year's projects will create at least 7,835 jobs over two years and investments of HK$10.24 billion. In 2005, the number of jobs created was 7,924, with investments of almost HK$8.9 billion.