'Sell in May and go away' is an old stock market saying suggesting the summer months are a period for doing anything but buying shares. Try telling that to investors lining up to make June potentially the most lucrative capital-raising period ever in Hong Kong. Last week saw completion of the world's biggest initial public offering this year and with offerings worth as much as $50 billion set to come to market during the period, June could break local records for equity capital raising. Retail investors reinforced their interest in new stock issues by oversubscribing the Bank of Communications (Bocom) offering by an impressive 200 times, making it the sixth most popular ever in the local market. Considering that interest rates have moved sharply higher in recent weeks, greatly increasing the cost of margin finance, this performance will encourage Hong Kong's investment community which has a pipeline of up to 60 fresh equity offerings yet had appeared to be facing shrinking demand. Bocom is arguably a special case since it comes with a seal of approval from HSBC, which has taken a 19.9 per cent stake in the smallest of the mainland's nationwide state-controlled banks. Local investors were drawn to a relatively clean balance sheet, an attractive valuation and the lure that HSBC would be instrumental in turning Bocom around just as it has with other operations around the world. However, with the strong demand resulting in the retail component being increased to 20 per cent of the total, the company announced on Saturday a price of $2.50 a share, near the top of expectations. This bodes well for other offerings such as shipping line Cosco Holdings, which is selling stock despite a deteriorating global shipping sector. Big stock offerings captivate our interest for a number of reasons. Generally, they provide investors a risk-free means of making quick money as the price is usually set sufficiently low to ensure strong demand by those investors that failed to secure stock. Such deals are a rich source of fees for the stock exchange and company financial advisers. The 12 main-board listings this year are estimated to have generated upward of $850 million, mostly paid to big investment banks but spread among multiple professional service advisers. They also matter since they force fundamental change on the companies involved. Governments across the world have used stock market privatisations as a tool to reform their economies, but none have done so on the scale seen in China. Shares in state-controlled telecommunications, petrochemical, power, insurance and vehicle firms have been sold over the past seven years. These firms represent the commanding heights of China's industrial economy and selling shares has forced managers to comply with international corporate governance standards. The next year should see the last leg of this first phase of corporatisation in the shape of the big state banks. Tens of billions of yuan have been spent cleaning up these once-moribund institutions in preparation for their public sale. The legacy of failed policy lending has been temporarily dealt with by transferring non-performing loans to asset management companies. Friday saw China Construction Bank formally sign with Bank of America to sell a 9 per cent stake for US$3 billion, and other foreign investors are expected to take a stake before a public share offering, expected later in the summer. London and New York may fight over the right to be the natural western financial capital attracting such mainland firms, but Hong Kong can take pride in remaining the irreplaceable offshore listing centre. As China's biggest and best companies queue up to raise capital, even while its domestic markets remain mired in strife, it is worth focusing on our advantages of transparency, openness and international best practice that has made it possible. Stick around for the summer. The best may be yet to come.