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January 20, 2017

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HKEx may unveil new venue for listings

THE Hong Kong stock exchange is proposing to launch a new listing venue that would allow companies with different voting rights to go public in the city, in a bid to remain a global listings powerhouse.

The proposal comes amid a long debate on Hong Kong’s attractiveness as a listing destination and on corporate governance norms, sparked by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group’s decision two years ago to make its record US$25 billion IPO in New York, much to Hong Kong’s disappointment.

Charles Li, CEO of Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Ltd (HKEx), unveiled the proposals at the exchange’s annual media lunch yesterday.

Li said HKEx is exploring a range of issues regarding a potential new board including different shareholding structures. “Is there any way for us to include those into Hong Kong, and if there is any way, how do we include that in the new structure?”

Li said the exchange has submitted a draft proposal for the third board to the authorities.

HKEx’s previous efforts to allow companies with different voting rights to list on its main board failed to get support from the city’s regulator, the Securities and Futures Commission.

But Li said that regardless of the outcome of the recent debate on the so-called weighted voting rights for stock listings in the city, he has never been explicitly told to keep anything off the table.


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