WITH ambitions to increase its business in the Asia-Pacific region to 30 per cent by the year 2000, GEC-Alsthom - a leader in energy and rail transport systems - has set up its regional Asian headquarters in Hong Kong. Pierre Bilger, chief executive officer, said with Hong Kong's communication capabilities, financial environment, human resources and accessible location for co-ordinating joint ventures in China, this expansion would be successful. ''The reinforcement of our commercial structure in Asia will enable us to mobilise the company's resources in this region, benefit from the export financing possibilities and optimise competitiveness.'' He said to reinforce the Asian commercial structure, more commercial offices would be set up wherever necessary. Orders for its goods and services from the Asia-Pacific region account for 24 per cent of the group's worldwide business. GEC-Alsthom, which is jointly owned by GEC of Britain and Alcatel-Alsthom of France, plans to develop its industrial presence in Asia, where it already employs 10,000 people. It holds a commercial network in 16 Asian countries. Mr Bilger said: ''It would be unrealistic for any Asian country to continue to import in the long-term, their large infrastructural equipment, and it would be unlikely that industrial countries would have the economic means necessary to support their exports.'' GEC-Alsthom, which aims to transfer and localise technology to become a fully Asian company, has manufacturing facilities in India, Australia, Indonesia, China and Hong Kong. Mr Bilger said GEC-Alsthom was ready to invest in private build-own-transfer projects in the energy and rail transport sectors. In the last three years, the company has been awarded three major contracts as suppliers to Asian developers. One project is the Shajiao C coal-fired power plant involving the Hopewell CEPA group. He said: ''For example, as a turnkey supplier, we see our role in acting with experienced operators and developers.'' GEC-Alsthom won the contract for the Black Point power station in Hong Kong in 1992 as part of a consortium with US-based General Electric. When completed, it would provide 2,500 megawatts of power for Hong Kong. This would be the first natural gas power plant in Hong Kong, operating with a low environmental impact. The company - which was designing and supplying all the power generation equipment for the station - said the work at Black Point was progressing as scheduled. The first 600 mW block was due to be commissioned in 1996. The firm is also implementing a new speed monitoring system for the Mass Transit Railway Corp (MTRC). The system - automatic train control - will improve the operating performance and safety of the network. The first line would be commissioned in mid-1996 and the last at the end of 1997. MTRC also signed a letter of intent with GEC-Alsthom to order the signal, speed control and centralised control equipment for the new airport line. But this would depend much on China endorsing the project. The firm will also refurbish the signal system on the Kowloon-Canton Railway Corp's 34-kilometre line between Kowloon and Lo Wu. This will increase safety and the capacity of the line. The commissioning date is mid-1996.