IPO: Hong Kong literary book has many pages

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The capital markets highlight of November in Asia was the Hong Kong IPO of Tencent spinoff China Literature, which raised HK$8.3 billion ($1.1 billion), was 600 times oversubscribed and shot up 70% on its first day of trading.

It was a good day for joint global coordinators Morgan Stanley, BAML and Credit Suisse. But the real fun was to be found in the prospectus, where the company explains what it does, including the proud boast that it covers literary works “spanning over 200 genres”. 

Are there 200 genres of literature? Let’s see… classic, romance, poetry, sci-fi, 50 Shades… no, to get to 200 you have to get to some highly specific Chinese sub-genres. Page 143 of the prospectus enlightens us about the “emerging genres” of chong sheng liu (“fictional stories about protagonists who are reborn and given the opportunity to change their destinies”) and hong huang liu (“fictional stories of young people travelling through time to antiquity and their encounters with mystic gods as they become immortal deities”).

As Xi Jinping cements his power, perhaps it is no surprise that the most popular work in online literature in China is called ‘The great ruler’.