Hutchison Whampoa, the ports-to-telecommunications conglomerate, is considering spinning off its Chinese herbal medicine business on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) of the London Stock Exchange, the second board that is equivalent to the Growth Enterprise Market in Hong Kong, according to a source close to the company. However, the spin-off was not likely in the first half and the deal was not big enough to have an impact on the group's asset value, the source said. He said the Chinese medicine business was still at a developmental stage and even the name of the listing candidate had yet to be finalised. A Hutchison spokesman declined to comment. Most of the firm's Chinese medicine operations come under the umbrella of Hutchison China, the conglomerate's investment subsidiary in the mainland, which is active in the manufacture and distribution of health-care, personal care and traditional Chinese medicine products. It is the second time the group has spun off its biotechnology ventures. CK Life, the biotechnology unit controlled by Cheung Kong (Holdings), drew a strong market response to its initial public offering in 2002. The spin-off enabled CK Life to raise $2.6 billion with a valuation of as much as $1.7 billion. However, this time, the group is employing a different strategy - hiving off the Chinese medicine business on the AIM rather than GEM. The decision to list overseas has not surprised the market since the AIM netted record fund-raising proceeds of more than $69 billion in the first three quarters of last year. The GEM, meanwhile, raised just $286.7 million over the same period. The attraction of an AIM listing lies in the fact that listing applications are vetted by nominated advisers - also known as nomads - whose benchmark for a listing is lower than it would be on the Hong Kong stock exchange. Nomads work on the basis of staking their reputation and credibility on the back of a listing, 'babysitting' the listing candidate on a permanent basis.