An association of Hong Kong stockbrokers has agreed to co-operate with the authority administering Qianhai - a 15 square kilometre special zone west of Shenzhen - to help develop the area into the "Manhattan of the Pearl River Delta". The Hong Kong Securities Professionals Association signed an agreement with the Authority of the Qianhai Shenzhen-Hong Kong Modern Service Industry Co-operation Zone of Shenzhen on Monday for the two sides to work out proposals to attract Hong Kong and international financial firms to invest in Qianhai. The association will submit a report to Qianhai next month. "Qianhai wants to open up, but they do not know how to attract overseas firms," said Christopher Cheung Wah-fung, the legislator for the financial services sector. "The association, after consultation with local financial firms, will give suggestions to Qianhai, urging it to introduce measures to allow Hong Kong brokers, insurers and banks to invest in Qianhai." Since 2010, the Shenzhen government has aspired to turn Qianhai into the "Manhattan of the Pearl River Delta", with a target for the zone's gross domestic product of 150 billion yuan (HK$187 billion) by 2020. HSBC is among the 37 financial firms that signed non-binding agreements in July to pour investments worth more than 300 billion yuan into Qianhai. Last month, the central bank's Shenzhen branch announced provisional regulations allowing firms registered in Qianhai to take out loans in yuan from Hong Kong banks. HSBC Hong Kong chief executive Anita Fung Yuen-mei said yesterday she hoped the bank would be among the first to offer such loans. Cheung said local brokers would propose allowing Hong Kong brokers that set up in Qianhai to sell shares from some Hong Kong initial public offerings to Qianhai residents. Shares of firms with a Qianhai theme rose yesterday after media reports that China Merchants Group, China International Marine Containers and Shenzhen International owned 27.5 per cent of Qianhai's land area. China Merchants Holdings (International) rose 8.81 per cent, China International Marine Containers surged 18.25 per cent, and Shenzhen International soared 21.11 per cent. The Hang Seng Index rose 0.29 per cent.