Hongkong Tramways' new management says it will strive to improve the system's technical quality and management to make it a showcase for the company's expansion into the Asian market. Veolia Transport senior vice- president and Asia chief executive Daniel Cukierman said the central government had high regard for enterprises with business experience in Hong Kong. 'When we tell China officials that we operate a tramway in Hong Kong, they are all fascinated ... If you are in Hong Kong, you are good,' Mr Cukierman said. When the French multinational announced its deal last month to buy a 50 per cent stake in Hong Kong's iconic tramway from local conglomerate Wharf, the company said the purchase would help provide the know-how for it to build an urban rail business on the mainland. 'We are interested in Hong Kong as it is,' Mr Cukierman said. 'But Hong Kong is no doubt a strategic location and an important step' for the company's development in China. Veolia Transport, a subsidiary of Veolia Environment, operates public transit systems including trains, metros, light rails, monorails and buses in 28 countries. The transport giant is relatively new to Asia, but in the past year it has gained ground quickly by entering the public transport market in Nanjing , Hong Kong and Seoul. Mr Cukierman said trams had a lot of potential in China because they were sometimes the best traffic solution for districts a metro line could not reach. 'You need a lot of money and a certain amount of population to support the building of a railway; that's when buses and trams can come in,' he said. In Hong Kong, the company faces a different challenge in how to improve a system established for more than a century. Hong Kong Tramways managing director Bruno Charrade said this was something he was here to find out about. 'There will not be a revolution,' he said. 'We will focus on small changes first and make them one at a time. Altogether there will be big changes.' The company is conducting a poll on passengers' expectations, which will be completed by summer. Mr Charrade said the company had no plan to increase tram speeds, but would rather talk to the government about the possibility of giving the tramway more right of way. 'The number of reserved lanes for trams has dwindled over the years as vehicle traffic grew fast. We hope to gain higher traffic priority at key locations to increase trams' efficiency.' Mr Charrade said Veolia would strive to make Hongkong Tramways a success before considering creating new tram routes or bidding for other public transport licences. No decision had been made on the style of tram for the new loop proposed for the waterfront promenade between Central and Wan Chai, but Mr Cukierman said a monorail was probably not among the options. 'A monorail runs on a viaduct, and that would block harbour views,' he said.