Vietnam first stop in quest for quality IPOs

PUBLISHED : Friday, 23 November, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 23 November, 2007, 12:00am

Hong Kong's top financial officials are holding their own roadshow to promote Hong Kong as a capital market in the Asia-Pacific as the listing of mainland firms slows.

Heading the delegation will be Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury Chan Ka-keung (below), who together with Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing officers, investment bankers and brokers, will host a forum on initial public offerings in Ho Chi Minh City today.

Calling Vietnam, his choice of a destination for his maiden mission abroad, a 'mini China', Mr Chan noted the country's high growth which averaged 8.1 per cent a year from 2004 to last year.

For this year, the IMF growth forecast for the country in real terms is 8.3 per cent.

Vietnam was Hong Kong's 12th-largest trading partner in Asia last year.

Analysts say officials are going all out to attract companies from other parts of Asia because the mainland is encouraging companies to list domestically.

Mr Chan rejected this. 'It is our established policy to reinforce Hong Kong's status as a preferred listing platform and capital formation centre by attracting quality enterprises from all over the world, regardless of where they are incorporated,' he said.

No Vietnamese company is yet listed here but Mr Chan said Hong Kong would be ideal for enterprises from the emerging country to raise funds.

'Enterprises around the globe are attracted to our capital market for efficient access to capital, up-to-date corporate governance guidelines and internationally recognised regulatory standards for the badge of quality,' Mr Chan said.

The State Securities Commission of Vietnam and Hong Kong's Securities and Futures Commission belong to the International Organisation of Securities Commission, a status that enables the two to monitor cross-border regulations in the eventuality of inter-country listings.

Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah will lead a delegation that will visit India next month while Mr Chan has more overseas visits planned for next year.

Besides the government officials, the HKEx has also been stepping up efforts to promote the city as a preferred listing venue. Exchange officials will visit various mainland cities and other destinations including Vietnam, Thailand, Taiwan, Malaysia, Kazakhstan, Russia, South Korea, Japan, India and Mongolia.