LISTING IPO REQUIREMENTS
The SEHK expects the share offer of a specialist technology company to include both a placing tranche and a public subscription tranche and to be of a meaningful size. The minimum free float (being shares not subject to any disposal restrictions) should be HKD600 million (USD76.7 million) or more upon listing. At least 50% of the total number of shares offered in the IPO of a specialist technology company must be allocated to independent institutional investors.
The SEHK also proposes a new initial retail allocation and clawback mechanism. The minimum retail allocation is initially 5% of the total offered shares, and should be increased to 10% if the public subscription tranche is over-subscribed by 10 times but less than 50 times, and to 20% if the over-subscription is by 50 times or more.
A pre-commercial company must disclose in its listing document the key stages and milestones for its specialist technology products to achieve the proposed commercialisation revenue threshold of HKD250 million.
POST-IPO LOCKUP PERIODS
Certain pre-IPO shareholders of specialist technology companies are subject to longer lockup periods (i.e., periods in which disposal of shares is restricted or prohibited) compared with most types of main board listing applicants.
Key persons, including founders, beneficiaries of weighted voting rights, executive directors, senior management and key personnel responsible for technical operations and/or the R&D, are subject to non-disposal restrictions of 12 months for a commercial company and 24 months for a pre-commercial company. The same lockup requirements are to apply to controlling shareholders.
Pathfinder investors will be subject to lockup periods of six months and 12 months for a commercial company and a pre-commercial company, respectively.
The applicable lockup period is generally at least six months for a cornerstone investor who subscribes for offer shares in the IPO.
STAR MARKET COMPARISONS
Metaverse, new food and new agriculture technologies are included in the suggested acceptable sectors of Hong Kong’s new listing regime, but are not currently in the allowed scope of the Star Market in Shanghai.
The proposed Hong Kong market capitalisation requirements are higher than those for the Star Market, and are also higher than the New York Stock Exchange, the Nasdaq Global Select Market, the Singapore Main Board and the London Stock Exchange.
For a Star Market applicant without revenue and profit, its main products or businesses are required to be approved by national government authorities, have a big market, and currently have achieved milestone progress. Most of the other applicants are subject to R&D requirements different from the proposed Hong Kong regime, e.g., R&D personnel headcounts must not be less than 10% of a Star Market applicant’s total number of employees.