Ming Hing Waterworks Holdings, supplier of drinking water to six in 10 Hong Kong residents, aims to generate half its revenues from mainland customers within the next five years after its first foray across the border. The target was announced by deputy chairman and chief executive Johnson Yuen Wai-keung during the opening of the company's 90.8 million yuan acquisition of Ningxiang Water, a water supplier in Ningxiang county in Hunan province. The Hong Kong company would bring know-how in energy saving, efficiency improvements and network maintenance to the lucrative mainland market, where demand for water supply was surging with rapid economic development, Mr Yuen said. State-owned Ningxiang Water has three water plants and an associated distribution network. Its supply capacity is 95,000 tonnes of water per day, but it recorded net losses of 2.6 million yuan and three million yuan last year and in 2005, respectively, due to mismanagement. Ming Hing wants to turn the losses into profit next year by lifting efficiency. Mr Yuen said the water leakage rate at the Ningxiang plant was double that at his plants in Hong Kong. 'We will focus on this area as well as fully utilising its 260 staff and supply capacity,' he said. China development general manager Eric Tang Man-shing expected supply from Ningxiang Water to grow at an annual rate of 30 per cent in the next three years. Ming Hing would continue to aggressively seek acquisitions with projects in counties or mid-sized cities. 'The competition in coastal big cities has already been fierce, so our strategy is to encircle cities from rural areas and seek projects with development potential,' Mr Tang said.