“One share, one vote” is an important principle for listed companies in Hong Kong, Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) chairman Carlson Tong said on Wednesday.
“We cannot just change our system for a single company but we need to see things with a broader view as there are different stakeholders in the market,” Tong told a media briefing, after Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. decided over the weekend to launch its initial public offering in the United States, instead of its original plan to list in Hong Kong.
“It is important for us to make consultation on the issue, and we will keep a neutral stance and see whether we should make a change,” he said.
“For example, if we change our existing system, other rules such as the takeover rule may be affected,” Tong said. “We also have to take care of the existing shareholders. If we allow the partnership structure, some of the existing companies might want to change too.”
Alibaba founder Jack Ma had proposed a partnership structure for his company, in which the founding partners of the e-commerce giant will maintain their control over the board, but Hong Kong regulators turned down the plan.
On March 16, Alibaba announced its decision to start the IPO process for the company in the US, where securities regulators have approved its partnership structure.
Tong reiterated that Hong Kong should maintain its game rules in order to uphold its status as an international financial center.
“We have to stand firm on our bottom line,” he said. “If we just aim for doing a favor for others or fight for a particular deal, it might not be a good for Hong Kong in the longer term.”
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