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ICBC To Launch World's Biggest IPO Soon

China's largest bank, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), hopes to raise US$19b when it lists in Hong Kong and Shanghai in what may be the world's largest flotation soon. The bank is this week expected to request a listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, where it is likely to place 12 percent of its share capital. Another six percent was to be placed on the Shanghai bourse. ICBC was hoping to appeal to the city's big tycoons -- such as Asia's richest man Li Ka-shing -- to buy a 1.3 billion dollar, 10-percent bloc of shares. The IPO is expected to just beat the world's largest IPO so far, the 18.4 billion dollar listing in 1988 of Japan's NTT DoCoMo telecom operator. It will certainly eclipse the 13.7 billion dollar flotation of rival Bank of China in earlier this year, then the fourth largest listing.

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