HK firm seeking partner for shift of key operations

Kenneth Ko

BEIJING Development (Hong Kong), formerly Hong Kong Worsted Mills, is negotiating a joint venture in Beijing to relocate its Hong Kong woollen and worsted manufacturing facilities.

Managing director Brian Ng Kong-fat said it would seek a Chinese partner to run a joint-venture plant in Beijing, which he said offered technology support for the woollen and worsted manufacturing industry.

He said the joint venture, yet to be finalised, would mainly manufacture products for export, but would also explore the domestic market.

Mr Ng said the proposed venture would allow the relocation of the company's Hong Kong manufacturing operations to the mainland, which would cut production costs.

He estimated that the relocation would result in savings of up to $15 million on labour costs a year, and leave vacant about 120,000 sq ft of factory space in Hong Kong for leasing purposes.

Mr Ng said Beijing Development was looking for new investments in China to increase its earnings base in the short term to speed its growth.

He said investments would target office, retail and residential projects.

The support of its major shareholder Beijing International Trust and Investment Corp (BITIC) would give it an edge in competing for mainland projects, particularly in Beijing, he said.

Since the takeover by a BITIC-led consortium last year, Beijing Development has taken up four mainland projects - three in Beijing and one in Shanghai.

The latest project was launched last month: a 95 per cent owned joint venture development in Beijing.

Mr Ng also said Beijing Development had decided to form a joint venture with Hong Kong's Ah Yat Abalone to run a high-quality restaurant in Beijing.

He said the joint venture, 51 per cent owned by Beijing Development, would rent a ground-floor unit in the Jin Qiao Building in the Chaoyang district.

He said the Beijing restaurant would be used as a test operation and the company would consider expanding the concept if it proved successful.