Hong Kong exchange proposes easing listing rules to lure more overseas firms

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HONG KONG – Hong Kong’s stock exchange proposed easing listing requirements to attract more overseas firms to sell shares in the financial hub.

In a consultation paper released late Wednesday (March 31), Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing (HKEX) proposed broadening secondary listings to all companies from now limiting them to high growth and innovative firms as long as they have one vote per share. It wants to lower the minimum market capitalization to HK$3 billion (S$519.4 million), given a listing track record of five years. That’s down from HK$40 billion, or HK$10 billion with revenue of HK$1 billion.

The move is intended to add further momentum to a boom in listings by Chinese firms in the city amid rising tension with the US New York-listed Chinese tech heavyweights such as Group Holding, Baidu and Bilibili have raised US$36 billion (S$48.4 billion) through secondary listings in Hong Kong since late 2019.

“Our latest proposals to streamline requirements and enhance our listing regime will attract more international and mainland companies looking to benefit from Hong Kong’s liquid financial markets,” Bonnie Chan, HKEX’s head of listing, said in a statement. The plan will maintain “the quality of the market” and “the high standards of shareholder protection that Hong Kong is known for,” she said.

The proposal came as China is said to mull creating a new stock exchange to attract overseas-listed firms to come back home, Reuters reported on Wednesday.

The new rule could allow the likes of retailer Miniso Group Holding, developer Nam Tai Property and pet products maker Boqii Holding to add listings closer to home.

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