HONG KONG, Oct 16 (AP) -- Hundreds of people lined up outside Hong Kong banks Monday, hoping to buy a share in China's biggest lender, Industrial & Commercial Bank of China, as it opened the retail portion of its initial public offering here.
The bank, which debuts simultaneously in Hong Kong and Shanghai on Oct. 27, is hoping to raise up to US$21.9 billion in the world's biggest IPO.
ICBC is offering 1.77 billion shares, or 5 percent of the total offering, to Hong Kong retail investors. They have until midday Thursday to place their orders.
Television footage showed long queues outside lining entire streets outside local banks, with the keenest investors arriving outside the banks before they opened early Monday.
Meanwhile, on the mainland, ICBC began taking subscriptions for shares to be listed in Shanghai from institutional investors Monday. The Shanghai portion is expected to raise up to US$5.9 billion.
ICBC is the latest in a parade of Chinese banking giants launching IPOs in Hong Kong during the past year. Bank of China, the mainland's No. 2 lender, began selling shares in May, raising US$11.2 billion (€8.9 billion) with an IPO that was the fourth-largest on record. China Construction Bank, the mainland's No. 3 bank, raised US$8 billion (6.4 billion) in October 2005.