Unlike China Shenhua Energy, investor response to Bank of Communications' (Bocom) initial public offering has been surprisingly strong, making it the hottest this year, according to brokers. Demand for the mainland lender was evident by the reappearance of queues outside popular pick-up spots for application forms even before they opened. 'Bocom is the first mainland bank to list in Hong Kong and investors believe that it will surge more than 10 per cent on the first trading day,' said Ronny Tang Kwan-hui, a director of Core Pacific-Yamaichi Securities. 'We have already got margin financing orders from big investors amounting to $500 million.' Bocom, which began the retail tranche of its $14.93 billion flotation yesterday, is offering 5 per cent of the shares to Hong Kong investors at $1.95 to $2.55 each. Banks and brokerages were helping demand by offering competitive margin financing rates of 2 to 3 per cent for new customers. Phillip Securities, which offered the lowest rate, received $1.5 billion worth of orders. 'Bocom was so hot that investors were confident enough to place their orders on the first day of the IPO,' said Kingston Lin King-ham, an associate director of Prudential Brokerage. 'We believe that Bocom can get about 100 times covered for the retail tranche.' To attract investors, Celestial Securities set a precedent by guaranteeing its margin financing clients one lot of Bocom shares if an investor subscribes for at least 300,000 shares. Hang Seng Investment also offered a $688 all-in-one package for margin financing of $1 million, while Tai Fook Securities set its margin rate at 3.98 per cent annually and Liu Chong Hing Bank offered a 3.5 per cent rate for the first 100,000 shares subscribed. Shenhua, which starts trading tomorrow, saw its retail tranche only 15 times covered and priced its offer near the bottom of the indicative range at $7.50. China Glass Holdings, which started its $207 million offering yesterday, received modest retail response, while the institutional tranche was two to three times covered, according to sources. Meanwhile, China Cosco Holdings has decided to offer 10 per cent of its up to $12.9 billion share sale to retail investors, which according to sources is twice the amount originally planned and communicated to potential investors last week. This should make the deal more attractive to retail investors as it increased the chance that they would get shares, said Ben Kwong Man-bun, a director at KGI Asia. The mainland's biggest container shipping line and terminal operator is offering 2.24 billion shares at between $4.25 and $5.75 per share.