Vigers set for mainland bid

HONG KONG property agency Vigers has announced plans to set up offices in China in a move that heralds the start of its major expansion in the Asia-Pacific region.

Managing director Nelson Wong said Vigers intended to open two offices in China and a branch in Taiwan this summer.

This would be the initial stage of an overall expansion programme in the Asia-Pacific region, he said.

''We look at ourselves (Vigers) as the Asia experts and, therefore, we need the offices in China,'' he said.

He said Vigers was looking at a simultaneous expansion in greater China that would cover Hong Kong, the mainland and Taiwan.

Vigers had filed applications with the Chinese authorities to open branches in Beijing and Shanghai no later than July, he said.

The company was also looking at the possibility of opening offices in Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Dalian, he said.

Vigers also hoped to open an office in Taipei in June and it was currently searching for a Taiwanese partner.

''Our clients are looking at China and we basically go where our clients go,'' he said.

''Everyone is looking at China.'' Vigers was getting clients from ''everywhere'', particularly Hong Kong, Southeast Asia and north America, he said.

Mr Wong said ''there are other countries in Asia we also need to look at, such as Australia, Vietnam and the Philippines''.

Vigers also has offices in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, Tokyo, Seoul and Vancouver.

''I think the Asia-Pacific region is the place to look at from now and on to the next century,'' Mr Wong said.

Describing himself as ''bullish'' about the future of the Chinese property market, he said ''the coastal cities will take the lead, particularly Shanghai as the commercial and industrial heart of China''.

He said he was not concerned about the austerity programme or the threat of new taxation in China.

It was important to look at China generally, he said, pointing to its economic development as cause for optimism.

The company's China operations were currently run from its Hong Kong office.

For clients planning to do business in China, Vigers offered a range of financial services, including investment banking and lending for those who would set up development projects, he said.