The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way many companies conduct business – with some practices, perhaps permanently. Among these are paperless initial public offerings and e-roadshows. Hong Kong has been slow to adopt both, but things are changing. The viral outbreak – and the need for social distancing – has given it a serious push. The new practices should only be encouraged. The need for e-IPOs was brought home in the most threatening way in March when a guest who attended the listing ceremony of SG Group Holdings at the Hong Kong stock exchange tested positive for the coronavirus. The incident triggered tracing and testing of other participants at the ceremony, which celebrated the apparel producer moving from the smaller GEM board to the main board. Meanwhile, InnoCare Pharma this week became the first company to complete its HK$2.2 billion (US$289 million) IPO process – from road show for investors to the actual commencement of trading – entirely online. The Beijing-based cancer drug developer’s e-IPO was almost 300 times oversubscribed and pricing was at the high end of the asking range. Hong Kong, the world’s largest market for IPOs for the seventh year out of 11, typically marks every trading debut with the ceremonial striking of a metal percussion instrument, similar to the ringing of the bell on the New York Stock Exchange. However, during lockdowns overseas, many bankers and senior executives have found videoconferencing in no way affects their ability to promote upcoming listings. Many say it is easier to target people online. Moreover, a physical roadshow, which takes IPO promoters to key investment hubs, leaves an extensive carbon footprint and the printing of traditional IPO documents wastes a lot of paper. While industry insiders don’t think traditional roadshows and IPOs will disappear any time soon, most think a lot of the activities may be moved online in a kind of hybrid model. As more companies allow staff to work from home, IPO investors too will find what they need online, even if it involves millions and millions of dollars. Help us understand what you are interested in so that we can improve SCMP and provide a better experience for you. We would like to invite you to take this five-minute survey on how you engage with SCMP and the news.