Finally. The Hong Kong float of Clive Palmer’s Resourcehouse is now officially under way, with Palmer launching the $3 billion share offer over the weekend. Share documents will be out this week and a float looks likely to occur early next month, finally shedding some light on the size of Palmer’s fortune.

Exactly how the float will perform is anyone’s guess. The float of commodities trading giant Glencore on the Hong Kong exchange last week was underwhelming and Resourcehouse has had trouble getting the timing of its listing right — this will be the fourth mooted float in the past three years.

Investors may well wait to see how Resourcehouse performs in its first months as a listed company before jumping on board.

But in some ways, the most interesting part about the Resourcehouse float isn’t how it performs but where it is occurring.

Hong Kong is continuing to emerge as the top place to list for companies that are strongly tied to China.

Resourcehouse is a great example. While the company’s main project is a giant Queensland coal mine, it is funded by Chinese debt, backed by Chinese investors and will be built by Chinese contractors.

Or take Prada, which plans to list on the Hong Kong exchange in a $15 billion float. It’s hard to think of a more European company, but its big growth opportunity now lies in the Chinese market.

The sheer “heat” in the Chinese market is perhaps best demonstrated by the recent float of a company called Milan Station, which buys and sells second-hand luxury handbags.

A slightly niche idea, you’d think, but investors simply couldn’t get enough.

The float was designed to raise about $37 million, but investors got so excited that the company received orders for $6.9 billion worth of stock. Just 700 of the 10,000 applicants for shares were successful, which meant the float set a record for the Hong Kong market; the float was 2100 times oversubscribed.

Not surprisingly, the shares surged more than 65% on listing, making founder Byron Yiu Kwan-tat — former waiter and street hawker — worth about $144 million.

Milan Station is a perfect example of the way investors are prepared to back anything that is connected to the rise of the Chinese middle class.

Clive Palmer will be hoping that’s the prism through which investors see his float too.

*This article was originally published at Smart Company.

Peter Fray

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