THE Hong Kong Investment Funds Association (HKIFA) will use the joint findings of its first two consumer surveys to spearhead future marketing campaigns in a bid to increase the number of Hong Kong Chinese investors who are buying unit trusts. Despite the spectacular performance of Hong Kong unit trusts, which peaked in the first quarter this year, they are still a fledgling industry in the territory. Estimates put the industry's total market penetration at between three and four per cent. In the United States, they have a penetration ratio of 27 per cent. The key to future marketing programmes lies with the HKIFA's second survey - also to be conducted by the Chinese University of Hong Kong - which will focus on people who are not using unit trusts as an investment vehicle. Tailoring the future marketing of unit trusts will be the responsibility of the association's 12-member Chinese Affairs Committee, tasked with developing new initiatives to boost the level of local investor participation. Committee chairman Andrew Lo Tak-shing said a low level of awareness was likely to be the main reason why more people had not invested in unit trusts so far. Mr Lo said unit trusts first became popular in Hong Kong in the middle of the 1980s. Programmes to promote them such as educational seminars and videos that explain the workings of the industry are already in place. ''We will use the findings of the second survey as a guide to where our services can best be used,'' Mr Lo said.