Want Want Holdings, the rice crackers and sweets maker delisted in Singapore in September, plans to raise at least US$700 million in Hong Kong in the first quarter of next year to take advantage of the city's strong liquidity flow, a source said. Taiwan-based Want Want, which makes products under its popular brand, might sell shares for a Hong Kong listing in late February or early March, the source said. UBS has been hired to lead the deal. 'With favourable market conditions, the firm could easily raise as much as US$1 billion on the back of its strong brand image as well as its proven track record. The final target amount is still under discussion,' the source said. An investment banker said a stronger secondary funding platform and broader investor base could have prompted Want Want to seek a Hong Kong listing. 'Hong Kong is an ideal place for the firm to get a listing as it could easily get new financing through different kinds of investment instruments because of the strong market liquidity. It should be good for companies with high growth prospects,' the banker said. Want Want listed in Singapore in May 1996 and was removed from the exchange after its chairman and two substantial shareholders bought a 26.6 per cent stake from independent shareholders for US$800 million. The company said the privatisation move could make its structure more efficient and that it would consider relisting in a different market that gave companies higher valuations. The Hong Kong exchange has attracted many Taiwanese companies in recent years, including mobile handset maker Foxconn International Holdings and food conglomerate Uni-President Enterprises Corp. 'Comparing the two markets, Hong Kong should be more convenient to tap for bulk capital in a short time than the relatively silent Singapore secondary capital market,' said another banker at a United States bank. Want Want, which generates more than 90 per cent of its revenue from China, said its second-quarter net profit rose 30 per cent to US$32.1 million as sales of snacks and drinks improved. The firm built its first plant in Hunan in 1994, giving it greater access to the mainland consumer market.