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Hong Kong IPO Gong Is Back for First Ceremony Since 2020

·2 min read

(Bloomberg) -- Hong Kong is dusting off the gong for the city’s first in-person listing ceremony in two years.

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Logistics startup GogoX Holdings Ltd. is hosting a ceremony at the exchange’s newly refurbished HKEX Connect Hall on Friday, according to a media invitation. Attendees are required to pre-register and to declare they’ve taken a rapid antigen test the same day showing a negative result. Everyone must wear a face mask.

The listing ceremony is another sign of normalcy that Hong Kong has been looking for after two years of stringent social distancing measures. The pandemic has reshaped dealmaking globally as meetings and due diligence go virtual because of travel restrictions. InnoCare Pharma Ltd., a Chinese biotech firm, was among the first in Hong Kong to opt for a virtual investor meeting in early 2020.

Striking a gong is a key feature of a listing ceremony in Hong Kong just like the iconic bell ringing ceremony in New York. In the Asian city, executives usually hit the gong with mallets in red cloth, a color symbolizing good fortune and joy in Chinese culture. Since the pandemic, the gong ceremony has gone virtual.

Hong Kong’s IPO market is also waiting for a big bang as inflation concerns and the war in Ukraine have slowed down activity significantly. Companies have raised about $2.4 billion through IPOs so far this year, only a fraction of the $26.2 billion raised during the same period in 2021, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

GogoX last week held Hong Kong’s first in-person IPO press briefing in months. The startup is also among a few companies that are set to defy the slump and test the waters. Although it only raised about HK$567 million ($72 million), the startup has enlisted four banks as its IPO sponsors: UBS Group AG, China International Capital Corp., Bocom International Holdings Co. and ABC International Holdings Ltd.

(Updates GogoX’s fundraising details in last paragraph.)

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