Sweet start: Bubble tea shares triple in Hong Kong market debut
By Agence France-Presse
Hong Kong’s bubble tea fever has leaped from long queues outside street stalls to the stock market with a maker of the drink tripling on its trading debut on Wednesday.
Priced at HK$1 ($0.13), shares of B & S International Holdings Ltd., which operates Taiwanese bubble tea franchise TenRen, started trading at HK$2.75 and once reached HK$3.25, before closing at HK$3.98.
The initial public offering was the second most oversubscribed in Hong Kong ever at 2,601 times, according to Bloomberg News.
The tea-based beverage, loaded with milk, sugar and tapioca pearls, has gained a global following and the popular TenRen chain has outlets across the world from North America to Singapore and Australia, according to a statement by B & S.
Hong Kong’s IPO market has had a strong start after a lacklustre performance in 2017.
Hong Kong led a rally after Asian stocks mostly opened the year with gains in January, with the city’s stocks setting a record closing high for three days straight later that month.
Chinese smartphone giant Xiaomi and Jack Ma’s Alibaba are among the companies mulling listings in Hong Kong this year, according to reports.
Hong Kong’s stock exchange has proposed rule changes and is set to allow dual-class shares and attract more firms to list in the city.
But it is unclear how long the market hype over the drink would last beyond Wednesday.
Ronald Wan of Hong Kong-based Partners Capital International told Bloomberg News the market debut was an “irrational rally driven by speculators chasing a relatively small stock”.