Mainlanders have long used Sha Tau Kok - and particularly Chung Ying Street, which straddles the border - to buy daily groceries such as milk powder and soap, since they prefer Hong Kong products. Now the practice is to take a modern twist with Hong Kong stocks joining the shopping list. Hong Kong-listed Emperor Capital Group will set up a branch in Sha Tau Kok next month to provide a convenient venue for mainland investors to trade Hong Kong stocks, according to the broker's managing director, Daisy Yeung. 'We want the Sha Tau Kok branch to serve local residents in the area and to capture mainland clients,' Ms Yeung said. Interest in Hong Kong-listed shares is increasing as the mainland's economy expands and as changes in trading rules allow more money to be invested in stocks outside Shanghai and Shenzhen. 'The booming mainland economic growth and the qualified domestic institutional investor scheme, which allows mainland securities firms to trade Hong Kong stocks, are helping to boost mainlanders' interests in the local stock market,'' Emperor executive director Tom Chan said. Mainland clients now represented about 20 per cent of Emperor Capital's 20,000 clients, Ms Yeung said, and each of them had a portfolio worth between HK$3 million and HK$5 million. The mainlanders are considered large retail investors, given that the average Hong Kong retail investor trades only HK$60,000 per trade, according to stock exchange statistics. Mr Chan said mainland investors were interested in Hong Kong stocks partly because mainland companies' Hong Kong-listed H shares were trading at a discount to their Shanghai- and Shenzhen-traded A-share counterparts. Mainland investors' trading in Hong Kong stocks have recently boosted daily market turnover to more than HK$100 billion, up from an average of about HK$16 billion last year. Ms Yeung said the company would also like to set up other branches in prime business areas in Hong Kong. Other big local brokers such as Sun Hung Kai Financial and Taifook Securities said mainlanders accounted for about 20 per cent of their business. But not all of these firms plan to set up in Sha Tau Kok. 'We can well serve our clients through the internet and telephone, and we do not need to set up a branch in Sha Tau Kok,'' said Joseph Tong Tang, executive director of Sun Hung Kai Financial. 'Usually, the clients who trade at the branches are not very big.' Emperor Capital on Monday announced a 7 per cent fall in profit to HK$24.1 million, or 8.53 HK cents per share, for the 12 months to March, as interest expenses rose. Turnover increased 30.2 per cent to HK$123.7 million, from HK$95 million a year earlier.