Hong Kong's fund management industry had gained 36 per cent to HK$6.15 trillion at the end of last year as international investors used the city as a base to invest in the mainland and Asia markets, according to the annual survey of the Securities and Futures Commission. SFC executive director Alexa Lam said the growth was a result of the scrapping of estate duty in Hong Kong and strong economic growth in the mainland and the surrounding region. 'International investors like to use Hong Kong as a platform to invest in Asia and China because we have many global financial institutions, high quality professionals and open and sound regulation,' she said. At the end of June, there were 2,001 SFC-authorised funds compared with 1,968 at the end of June last year. About 62.1 per cent of all those funds are attributed to overseas investors. Assets under the SFC-authorised funds rose to 4.2 times Hong Kong's gross domestic product last year from 3.3 times in 2005. Ms Lam expected growth would continue this year with the major driving force from mainlanders. 'The qualified domestic institutional investors (QDII) programmes announced in May allow mainlanders to invest in Hong Kong SFC-authorised funds.,' she said 'The funds managed in Hong Kong are expected to show significant growth.' Ms Lam said the funds industry also would benefit from the latest expansion of the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement which allowed mainland fund companies to operate in Hong Kong. Market sources said the 20 biggest mainland fund companies were interested in setting up operations in Hong Kong but had not formally submitted applications. 'Our aim is for Hong Kong to become the one-stop supermarket where mainland investors can shop for the best wealth management service and products the world has to offer,' Mrs Lam said.