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Hong Kong Listed Companies Still To Publish Paid Press Ads

by Mary Swire,, Hong Kong

24 December 2002

Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing had planned to require all main board-listed companies to publish their financial announcements on its web-site, and would eventually have released them from the obligation to publish paid advertisements in newspapers - but these plans have been abandoned due to worries about lack of access to the internet by many retail investors, says the South China Morning Post.

"HKEx wanted to change the rules to save costs for companies, but we also need to take care of the interests of local retail investors who still rely on newspaper advertisements," a source told the newspaper. "We don't think Hong Kong investors are ready to read company announcements on the Internet in the near future," he said. "HKEx will give at least six months' notice to the market if we decide to go ahead with the plan."

Hong Kong Stockbrokers Association chairman Wilfred Wong Wai-sum told the SCMP that he welcomed the exchange's decision to retain newspaper announcements: "Many overseas markets do not have the newspaper advertisement rules because they are mainly traded by institutional investors who have access to the Internet," Mr Wong said. "In Hong Kong, however, there are many retail investors trading in the market who do not have computers. It is better for HKEx to require the companies to announce news in both the newspapers and Internet."

When HKEx trailed its plans in April last year, it said: “We expect this change to come into effect by the second quarter of next year, and we may consider arranging for newspapers to publish a list of announcements posted on our website.

“We are also developing an e-submission system for the delivery of listed company announcements through the Internet, rather than by delivery of a diskette, and expect to introduce this service in the third quarter of this year."

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