Hong Kong Exchange Denies Preferential Waiver for Tom.com

In response to criticism of its
handling of the Tom.com IPO, the Hong Kong Stock Exchange
said that it has not granted any preferential waiver on management rules to the month-old company.

According to the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong, companies who want to list on
the Growth Enterprise Market (GEM) Board must have been under the same
management and ownership during the two years before the listing.

Tom.com launched its Web site last month and launched its IPO last
Thursday.

The Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) and the Exchange explained that
the Exchange could consider waiver applications on a case by case basis.

The Exchange said it could reduce the moratorium period if the management
shareholders were able to demonstrate a high level of commitment to the
long-term development of the company’s business.

Also, the Exchange further explained that GEM’s moratorium period should be
in line with the practice of other growth markets. It said even NASDAQ has
no exchange rules imposing a lock up requirement.

It cited the example of Far Eastern Polychem Industries Ltd, which was the
first GEM company which applied for and was granted a waiver in January.

Regarding the relaxation of staff stock option plans to the 50 percent
share option limit, the Exchange and SFC said they have been jointly
consulting the market on proposals for all listed companies.

The Exchange and SFC said that all proposed waivers and rule
amendments have followed market consultation and detailed deliberation. They jointly
declared that the Exchange has given no preferential waivers to any company.

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