Government may sell its share to other parties later
THE government has insisted that Pacific Century Group should play a
leading role in the Cyberport project and hinted that its own stake
could eventually be sold to interested parties.
Property developers had earlier expressed dissatisfaction over the
awarding of the project to Pacific Century, claiming the company would
enjoy the benefits from the residential development without going
through a public tender.
Deputy Secretary for Information Technology and Broadcasting Eva Cheng
reiterated yesterday that the $13 billion development was an
information-technology infrastructure project instead of a property
"We do believe many local developers are financially capable of
undertaking the project. But this is a project of complexity and is
highly risky. We don't want to see one day that a party in the project
would shed its responsibility to others (if there are too many
participants)," Ms Cheng said.
She revealed that a provision in the agreement with Pacific Century
stated the government's stake could be ultimately sold to other
parties, but the buyers would not participate in the construction of
Ms Cheng said the first phase of residential development would not be
completed until 2003 and profits would only be realised in 2005.
Initial negotiations between the government and Pacific Century, which
is headed by Richard Li Tzar-kai _ the youngest son of property tycoon
Li Ka-shing _ did not cover residential development.
"This is not a charity. The project needs to provide a reasonable
return, but the government does not want to take a big risk project,"
Ms Cheng said. "Cyberport will spur economic development in the
future. The government wants to own the project as it has a very
One third of the 23 hectares allocated for the project in Telegraph
Bay, Pok Fu Lam, will be zoned for residential purposes. Ms Cheng said
the potential damage to the environment and the likely pressure on
transport in Pok Fu Lam would not be serious after a comprehensive
assessment of the issues had been made.
She expected Cyberport to help the application of information
technology in Hong Kong, such as shopping and conducting banking
transactions via the Internet.
Meanwhile, Chief Secretary for Administration Anson Chan Fang On-sang,
speaking at a public function, said: "Cyberport will offer the best
working and living environment and facilities for leading-edge
information-technology and services companies.
"We will have an environment where we can upgrade our existing
economic activities, create new products and expose them to the
electronic world market," she said.
All rights reserved.