Hong Kong exploring whether to allow SPAC listings

REUTERS/Bobby Yip

Hong Kong is exploring whether to allow Special Purpose Acquisition Companies (SPAC) to list in the Asian financial hub, according to a government statement, indicating that a largely US phenomenon could be going global.

A SPAC is a blank-cheque company that raises money through an initial public offering (IPO) with the intention of merging with another firm, allowing that business to list more quickly.

Most SPACs so far have listed in the United States. They raised $60 billion in the first two months of 2021, Dealogic data showed, already more than 70% of 2020’s annual deal value.

Hong Kong‘s markets regulator, the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) and exchange operator Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (HKEX) briefed a forum of top financial leaders in the city about the latest developments in SPACS on Monday, according to the statement issued that evening.

The Financial Leaders Forum, which is chaired by Hong Kong‘s Financial Secretary, Paul Chan, had asked the two organisations “to explore suitable listing regimes to enhance the competitiveness of Hong Kong as an international financial centre, while safeguarding the interests of the investing public.”

Chan said in an interview with Bloomberg TV on Tuesday that the government was seriously looking into allowing SPACs.

Several Hong Kong tycoons, including Richard Li, the son of Hong Kong‘s richest man Li Kashing, have set up SPACs already or are working on doing so.

Even without SPACs, Hong Kong was the second most popular listing venue in the world in 2020 with deals worth $31.2 billion, compared to Nasdaq’s $51.3 billion, according to Refinitiv data.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.