Retail investors have given a lukewarm response to Chinese food delivery service firm Meituan Dianping’s US$4.2 billion IPO, with the public tranche 1.5 times subscribed, fairing little better than China Tower’s mega listing in August. Retail investors, which were allocated 5 per cent of the total available shares, subscribed for 36 million shares, the company said in an exchange filing in Hong Kong on Wednesday. The offering received applications from more than 17,000 retail investors, locking up HK$2.6 billion (US$331.44 million) worth of capital during the subscription period. The response among retail investor is similar to China Tower’s US$7.5 billion IPO last month, where the public portion was 1.36 times subscribed, representing HK$4.6 billion worth of orders. The cooling sentiment marks a sharp turnaround from earlier in the year. In July, retail investors oversubscribed to Xiaomi’s IPO by 8.5 times, placing HK$23 billion worth of orders. In May, Ping An Good Doctor’s offering was oversubscribed by 653 times, tieing up HK$370 billion in investor deposits. Last Friday, the Hang Seng Index touched an intra-day low of 26,669, having fallen more than 20 per cent from its January peak of 33,484, technically entering a bear market. The index has had a slight rebound this week, to end at 27,407.37 on Wednesday. However, professional investors took more of a shine towards Meituan, according to a company statement, which said demand for the international tranche was “heavily oversubscribed”. The company priced its IPO at HK$69 per share, near the top of the indicative range of HK$60 to HK$72. The HK$33.14 billion fundraising catapults Meituan to among Hong Kong’s top deals of 2018, where it ranks as the second largest tech offering, and the city’s third biggest IPO for the year. Li Ka-shing, the city’s richest man, subscribed for shares in the international placement, according to sources. Joseph Lau Luen-hung, former chairman of Chinese Estates and Adrian Cheng, executive vice-chairman of New World Development, were also among high profile investors subscribing to the offering. Hillhouse Capital and Tiger Fund, the existing investors of the Beijing-based company, have also sought stakes in the IPO. At the offer price, Meituan is seeking a valuation of around US$52.4 billion, or 75 per cent above its most recent fundraising round in October, 2017, when it was valued at US$30 billion. If the company exercises an over-allotment option, the IPO value could rise by as much as 15 per cent to US$4.8 billion. Meituan’s shares will begin trading on Thursday in Hong Kong.