China's entry into the World Trade Organisation would help small to medium-sized business brokerages to flourish in the region, believes Louis Pong Wai-yan, chairman of LP Lammas International. LP Lammas, a business brokerage concentrating on mergers and acquisitions (M&A) of small- and medium-sized enterprises in the greater China region, was listed on the Growth Enterprises Market last Thursday. It raised HK$32 million by issuing 160 million shares at 20 HK cents each. Mr Pong was optimistic about business prospects in Asia, especially after China's accession into the WTO. He thought there would be a lot more Hong Kong-based or overseas companies interested in expanding their business by M&A when regulations and tariffs were standardised in the mainland. 'For now, only the big companies can negotiate with the government for better terms as they are bringing [in] billions of yuan at a time,' he said. 'But under WTO, small and medium [-sized] enterprises are also able to have a better chance to expand in the region.' Mr Pong said the accession by China to the WTO would have a long-term effect and there would be a 'chaotic' time during the transition period in which investors already committed to the market could benefit. 'You know it takes time for officials to adapt to the new trend and their administration will be a problem,' he said. 'But our company has a foothold in China and we are familiar with how they work. We could help out those companies which want to be the first.' Mr Pong said the public knew little about LP Lammas and there were only a few competitors. He was hoping to attract more clients in order to boost the profile of the business. 'It [business brokerage] is under-developed in the region,' he said. 'We are not competing for a market, instead, we are opening up the market.' He said the business was not known to potential clients as they had a false perception that mergers and acquisitions were only for conglomerates. 'I could say our business makes M&A easier for those small and medium [-sized] companies, and we [help] facilitate them to better develop their business through M&A.' He said a public listing of the company was a good way to gain visibility even though the market was not receiving much interest at the moment. Mr Pong said LP Lammas catered for a different market to those served by investment banks which mainly targeted big enterprises, such as the 700 listed companies in Hong Kong. He was confident that his company would survive the pressure of acquiring new clients. He said LP Lammas would also expand into the United States and Europe, and it was looking for strategic partners to strengthen its international network and technological support. 'It is a very rewarding business and we are going to make a whole lot of money,' he said. 'We are expecting a nine-digit profit in several years.'