HKEX sees much needed listings boost

After a slow start to the year, confidence is slowly returning to the city's equity market, with QuantumPharm about to become the third largest listing of the year.

In a boost to the local economy, the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEX) has seen several larger applications to list in recent weeks, with the overall number of applications so far this year above 100. 

This includes QuantumPharm, a pre-revenue Tencent-backed artificial intelligence drug researcher, which this week raised HK$989.3 million ($126.8 million) at HK$5.28 a share, before its listing on June 13. Citic Securities is the sole sponsor on the deal. 

QuantumPharm will be the HKEX's third largest listing this year after Sichuan Baidao Industrial's HK$2.58 billion IPO in April and RoboSense Technology's HK$1.06 billion offering in January, according to LSEG data. 

Earlier this month small firm UBoT raised HK$68.75 million from its HKEX IPO. The Hong Kong based semiconductor firm was the first GEM listing in three years.

Meanwhile Chinese self driving firm Minieye, backed by Alibaba is looking to raise $150 million through an IPO too. It submitted a prospectus on May 27.

And on May 24, China's Sunho Biologics listed on HKEX with an offering size of approximately HK$460 million, as part of a wider ramp up of investment in Asia's healthcare sector

The HKEX would see a particular boost if Hong Kong-headquartered pan-Asian life insurance giant FWD pulled the trigger on its long expected initial public offering (IPO). This could well happen sooner rather than later with senior management at the company, which is worth around $10 billion, understood to be watching markets closely, according to reports.   


Hong Kong is slowly regaining its vibrancy after a difficult few years navigating the pandemic and fallout from the protests. Visitor numbers are edging up week on week, while the economy is set to grow between 2.5% to 3.5% according to government forecasts, with Q1 2024 growth of 2.7%.

The strong Hong Kong dollar, which pegged to the US dollar, is still an ongoing challenge for the city, as markets await for the US Fed to at long last cut interest rates. 

In another move at the HKEX, plans are being put in place to stop shutdowns during storms. While the details are still being finalised, the South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported the end of storm shutdowns could begin as soon as September. 

Meanwhile the HKEX has been exploring cross-listings of ETFs with Saudi Arabia and signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Shandong province in China to strengthen cooperation and support listings. 

And in another boost to the city, the government-owned Hong Kong Investment Corporation (HKIC) is set to start deploying some of its HK$62 billion of funds under management in the next few weeks as it looks to invest in sectors such as technology, biotechnology and new energey, said chief executive Clara Chan Ka-chai to the SCMP on June 11

On June 12 it signed an agreement with Hong Kong articficial intelligence (AI) firm SmartMore. Founded in Hong Kong in 2019, SmartMore produces visual inspection machines for production and assembly lines. The firm has agreed to establish an academy to train AI talent in Hong Kong and team up with the HKIC on development of the Greater Bay Area (GBA). It has also agreed to list on the HKEX as first choice when it makes a decision to use this route to raise more funds.  

This story was updated on June 12. 

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