SCMP Thursday, May 17, 2001

Business big guns in 'Go West' delegation


Dozens of SAR tycoons will join a landmark tour to seek investment prospects in China's western regions - Beijing's top priority in the coming decades.
Led by Chief Secretary for Administration Donald Tsang Yam-kuen, the 282-strong delegation includes 71 chief executive officers.
Among the heavyweights will be Pacific Century CyberWorks chairman Richard Li Tzar-kai, and brother Victor; Thomas Kwok Ping-kwong and Raymond Kwok Ping-luen of Sun Hung Kai Properties; and the chairman of the Bank of East Asia, David Li Kwok-po.
They will be joined on a Dragon Airways charter plane on Sunday by 17 top civil servants.
The 10-day tour will start in Xian - the gateway city for China's "Go West" programme - before moving on to Beijing where a big welcome is expected from central Government leaders.
They will then fly to southwestern Chengdu. The final stop is Urumqi, capital of Xinjiang, where a separatist group is promoting independence for Uygurs.
Also attending are 21 senior mainland officials and representatives from eight professional groups, including the Hong Kong Bar Association and the Hong Kong Venture Capital Association.
The scale and profile of the delegation is the biggest ever attempted by the Government, according to Mr Tsang.
"If the formula works, we may try it again in future," he said yesterday at Government House after meeting delegates.