More than one million application forms - or almost one for every seven people in Hong Kong - are expected to be snapped up for shares in Growth Enterprise Market listing candidate Tom.com before the public offer closes tomorrow. Hundreds of investors continued to queue yesterday at banks for some of the 42.8 million shares being offered to the public by the Internet content provider. An HSBC spokesman said the bank had distributed 800,000 forms since last Friday through 10 branches, while a further 400,000 forms would be ready for distribution today. Francis Leung Pak-to, vice-chairman of BNP Prime Peregrine, the offering's sponsor, said Tom.com had printed 1.5 million application forms and this would be sufficient. Given the large volume of applications, Tom.com and BNP Prime Peregrine were in talks about how to settle the applications when the offer closes, according to sources. Banks might hire temporary staff to handle the settlement, one source said. Tom.com, 57 per cent owned by Cheung Kong (Holdings) and Hutchison Whampoa, plans to sell 428 million new shares, of which 10 per cent are for the public. The firm will raise $630 million to $760 million through the new issue. This will rise to $876 million if an over-allotment option is exercised. The shares are expected to soar to between $5 and $10 when they make their debut on March 1 - far higher than the issue price of between $1.48 and $1.78. Mr Leung refused to speculate on the 'grey market' price of the shares. Pricing will be finalised tomorrow but analysts said the encouraging response would see the price reach the top of the expected range. Analysts believe Tom.com's subscription level will hit a record high, surpassing the 1,276 times achieved by Beijing Enterprises Holdings in 1997 at the height of red-chip fever. The 359.52 million shares for institutional investors were expected to be subscribed 20 times, sources said. The firm is expected to pay about $58 million in listing costs, including legal fees, transaction levy and underwriting commissions, the highest by any GEM company in absolute amount. Meanwhile, it has emerged that Tom.com may turn out to be the most expensive Internet domain name in history. The company paid US$2.5 million to Nevada-registered Vortexx 2000 (which does business as Phoam Technologies) last December, setting a record for the highest price paid for a domain name by a non-US buyer, according to the Hong Kong-based Web site Webb-site.com.