(Bloomberg) – Hong Kong chief executive John Lee is trying to persuade oil giant Saudi Aramco and its units to consider a secondary listing in the Asian financial hub as he begins his first official visit to the Middle East, according to southern China, the Morning Post.
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Lee is launching a campaign to attract new investment to the city after nearly three years of pandemic isolation. The president will meet with top Saudi Aramco executives and highlight what Hong Kong has to offer as an international financial hub, according to the report, which quotes the president as saying he would do his best to encourage the city’s oil producer to become public.
Hong Kong has been a popular hub for government funds and companies to list, according to the report citing Lee after he arrived in Saudi Arabia’s capital Riyadh on Sunday. Aramco’s business is “very diverse with its various subsidiaries” and the plan is to “encourage them to come to Hong Kong to participate, including listing in the city,” he told the South China Morning Post. .
Saudi Arabian Oil Co., as the $2 trillion company is officially called, was listed in Riyadh, the Saudi capital, in 2019. Prior to the company’s $29 billion share offering, the most important in the world ever recorded, it chose to avoid an international listing.
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Lee was greeted at the airport by Badr AlBadr, deputy minister of Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Investment. Hamad Aljebreen, Consul General of Saudi Arabia in Hong Kong; and Yin Lijun, deputy chief of mission of the Chinese embassy in the country, according to the report.
He is visiting Saudi Arabia and will then travel to the United Arab Emirates until February 11. During this period, he will meet with local politicians and business leaders to promote new development opportunities and “promote Hong Kong’s exchanges and cooperation with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates”. on all fronts,” according to a government statement released ahead of the trip.
The chief executive said before his departure that the development visions and needs of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were “precisely aligned” with Hong Kong’s advantages, Radio Television Hong Kong reported.
His trip comes as local Hong Kong officials seek to energize the city and attract new investment opportunities to boost its struggling economy, which shrank last year for the third time since 2019 as an outflow Prolonged Covid sidewalk isolation has hit the busy city.
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Since Hong Kong began to reopen last year, Hong Kong officials have sought to increase engagements with the Middle East and its Asian neighbors as ties with traditional Western allies have cooled due to the crackdown. authorities against dissent.
Last October, Finance Minister Paul Chan visited Bahrain and Saudi Arabia to develop potential business opportunities, while Lee and other government officials have since visited Vietnam and Thailand for similar purposes.
The finance minister said during his visit that stock exchange operator Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing had approached Saudi Aramco about a secondary listing, according to the South China Morning Post.
With rising Sino-US tensions, China is actively seeking investment opportunities in the Middle East. In December, Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Saudi Arabia for a summit where investment deals worth around $50 billion were signed.
(Updates with more details from the first paragraph report)
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