Several Hong Kong blue chips are 'seriously' considering listing on the New York Stock Exchange next year, according to the exchange's vice-president of international listings for Asia-Pacific. James Shapiro yesterday said the interested blue chips primarily had a global presence, possibly with customers and investors from the United States, or might be planning acquisitions there. Mr Shapiro, who is based in Tokyo, said he could not reveal the names of the interested parties but it is widely believed Hutchison is a candidate. Wharf (Holdings) has already announced plans to spin off its cable television and Internet access business into one unit and list it in Hong Kong and the United States, although the Nasdaq market is its likely target. 'I would say several blue chips [from Hong Kong] . . . are seriously considering it [New York],' Mr Shapiro said. 'We're seeing a different seriousness of interest . . . three or four years ago, they had no interest. I think this has been boiling since the economic crisis.' 'Hong Kong and China companies are increasingly looking to New York, particularly the Hong Kong companies.' While some analysts say there is little reason to believe larger blue chips would benefit from heading to New York, Mr Shapiro attributes any desire to move to Wall Street on the globalisation factor. 'The reasoning is that some of these companies are now entering industries where they are competing with other global players and they want to be held to the same [accounting and disclosure] standards as their competitors,' he said. 'I think companies are much more willing to say they want to be held to the same benchmarks as their competitors . . . that is certainly happening in Japan.' Of the blue chips, only Cable and Wireless HKT and China Telecom have American Depositary Receipts (ADR) traded on the New York exchange. HSBC Holdings' primary listing is in London and it has a dual listing in New York. The exchange does not list it as a Hong Kong company. There were three new companies from the Asia-Pacific region listed on the exchange this year - Indian financial services group ICICI, Korea Telecom and Japan's Toyota group. 'I hope we'll see more than three (from the region) by the end of the year,' Mr Shapiro said. 'I think it's fair to say that [more Asian companies] are thinking about listing or that they're thinking about creating a spin-off that could list . . . I think many of them are exploring a lot of ideas,' he said. Market speculation is that Hutchison Whampoa is seeking a dual listing. 'One of them is definitely Hutchison (Whampoa),' Lehman Brothers conglomerates analyst Philip Tulk said. 'Hutchison has a substantial amount of its adjusted assets in the [United] States . . . there are a lot of rumours around that they are taking that route.' An increased ability to raise capital in the US would be an attraction for Hutchison, Mr Tulk said. 'It's almost too big for Hong Kong,' he said of the company. However, the downside could be the accounting requirements in the US. Mr Tulk said the company might shy away from the level of disclosure required. 'I don't know if they will want to do it as they like to keep their cards close to their chest,' he said. 'Going to the States requires a new level of disclosure . . . [but] I am in the camp that believes they will do it at some point in the next two years.' Some market watchers believe the benefits of a dual listing are limited. According to one local analyst, the only appeal would be for a company involved in businesses that were misunderstood by Asian investors. 'The evidence seems to suggest that those companies that have listings in New York (from Hong Kong and the mainland) have seen the bulk of their share trading continued in Hong Kong, not in New York . . . there is not much evidence they will gain a lot [from a dual listing],' he said. Mr Shapiro said most companies sought to issue American Depositary Receipts for trading in New York. There are currently 10 Hong Kong and mainland-based groups listed on the New York exchange.