Hong Kong jeweler kicks off IPO

Chow Tai Fook is latest luxury brand to seek listing in the fast-growing Chinese market

Chow Tai Fook Jewellery, the Hong Kong-based retailer, began taking orders for its IPO today as another luxury goods company prepares to tap the Chinese market.

The retailer, which is controlled by real estate billionaire Cheng Yu-tung, is seeking to raise up to HK$22 bn ($2.8 bn) in what may turn out to be the biggest Hong Kong IPO of the year.

The order taking kicked off with a lunch today attended by high-profile members of Hong Kong’s business and finance community.

These included Jack Ma, chairman of Alibaba, and Peter Wong Tung-shun, chief executive of the Asia-Pacific region for HSBC, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal.

Chow Tai Fook is one of the world’s biggest jewelry chains, with more than 1,300 stores across Asia, and a leader in the fast-growing Chinese market.

Allure of China listing

The allure of the Chinese consumer has led a number of western brands to list in Hong Kong over the last 18 months as they look to cement their business in the region.

The trend was kicked off by L’Occitane, the French perfume company, when it raised $707 mn in May 2010.

June 2011 saw the biggest IPO so far this year when Italian fashion house Prada raised $2.5 bn in the city.

Samsonite, the US suitcase maker, also listed in Hong Kong in June, while a slew of other brands, including Coach and Jimmy Choo, are eyeing up a float.

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