(Bloomberg) — Hong Kong’s boom in initial public offerings is set to be prolonged as companies given a boost by the pandemic outbreak follow China’s technology giants in selling shares, the bourse’s head of listings said.
Companies from the technology and biotechnology sectors could continue to fill the IPO pipeline in the near future as Covid-19 has boosted investments in research and development, Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Ltd.’s Head of Listing Bonnie Chan said in an interview on Friday.
“We thought 2020 would be a disappointment, but it has turned out to be a busy year,” Chan, 50, said. “I believe the IPO rush will continue.”
Hong Kong this year has seen a rush of listings from Chinese companies including JD.com Inc. and Netease Inc., which are selling shares in the city to supplement New York listings amid growing tension between the U.S. and China. It’s now soon set to welcome Jack Ma’s fintech giant Ant Group, which is said to plan a $35 billion dual listing in Hong Kong and Shanghai.
Listings in Hong Kong have jumped 33% this year to HK$220 billion ($28.4 billion). In turn, the exchange’s shares have surged 47% so far in 2020.
The bourse anticipates that listings of companies in the retail and consumer industries will also return once the pandemic subsides, said Chan, who leads a team of more than 260 people to approve listings.
Ant, China’s biggest payments company, is waiting for a hearing with the Hong Kong stock exchange on approval for its listing, which was expected to have happened last week. It now faces added uncertainty stemming from a debate in Washington over restrictions on the payments behemoth.