In an exclusive report, has learned of a secret government plan to float itself on GEM. We look at the detailed implications of this, the ultimate step in Government privatisation. Investors are already queuing up to apply for shares in the new entity, to be known as to Float on GEM
1 April 2000 has learned of a secret plan by the Government of Hong Kong to capitalise on the current dot-com craze by floating itself on the technology-heavy GEM board.

A source close to the Government who we will call Stephen Lam (not his real name), gave us an exclusive briefing on the project.

Gimme them options!All existing government departments, including the SFC, will be transferred to the new entity, to be known as Limited, which will then be floated on GEM as part of a global offering. The Financial Secretary is understood to have been heading toward Nasdaq via Las Vegas, but Mr K S Lo, head of GEM, said to him, "brother Yam-kuen, Hong Kong needs you on its GEM".

Pursuant to a GEM waiver given in the "exceptional circumstances" of the issue, senior civil servants of grade FS and above will be entitled to share options over up to 90% of

The Exchange Fund, now standing at over HK$1 trillion, will be distributed prior to the flotation as a special dividend to the National People's Congress of the PRC Government . According to the source, this was in line with the "true legislative intent" of the Basic Law and what the SAR Preparatory Committee had in mind at the time.

Universal Suffering Soon!

Members of the public will not be left out either. Mr P Woo, Director of investor relations, said that any citizen who pays at least as much tax as he does will entitled to voting shares in, whereas non-taxpayers, the retired, sick and poor will each receive one non-voting zero-coupon perpetual preference share. The voting shares will form a class known as the "functional constituencies shares" while the non-voting stock will form a class known as the "disfunctional constituency shares".

Commending the proposal, Mr G Wu, head of the Government's strategic sewerage creation scheme, said "if Martin Lee had been Chief Executive of Hopewell, it would have lost 83% of its market value since the handover.... oh, wait a minute, it already has - just as well the whole Hang Seng Index hasn't been hopeless!"

More Spin

In a related move, the source disclosed plans to spin off two subsidiaries of just a week after listing. Each resulting subsidiary will spin off two more per week thereafter, and it is estimated that there will be approximately 1,024 listed subsidiaries after 10 weeks, subject to the GEM Listing Division being able to keep up. The Exchange is understood to have drafted in a number of extra staff from the Water Authority to cope with the deluge of listing applications, which it will process faster than you can say "".

One of the first spin-offs is planned to be, the existing road system. In order to ensure a level playing field in a territory filled with slopes, the company will be split into 3 different subsidiaries each of which will be entitled to the revenue from one lane of the key arterial route known as Gloucester Road.

Through a web-enabled B2B (bumper-to-bumper) road pricing system, sensors attached to each car will pass over intelligent white lines embedded between each road lane, and automatically debit the bank account of the car owner for the fee payable for use of that road lane.

It is understood that a reverse auction portal of road pricing (to be known as will be established so that the 3 companies can constantly compete for traffic by offering lower prices when their lanes are less congested. Prices will be fed to the driver by a "heads-up-display" projected onto the windscreen, and when a lower price becomes available in another lane, he will be able to swerve into that lane and achieve significant savings. The "early adopters" of this technology are expected to be taxi drivers and mini-bus drivers, who will be entitled to installation of the system when upgrading to the new environmentally-friendly nitro-glycerine fuel.

Sponsors of are already indicating that they expect the issue to be over-subscribed by at least as much as Beijing Enterprises, and the queue for application forms snakes from Queen's Road all the way back to the CyberPort. An extensive TV advertising campaign is planned, featuring a man demonstrating centrifugal force on his neighbour's children.

©, 2000

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