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Opinion
Andy Mukherjee

Can Hong Kong Keep Its SPAC Envy at Bay?

Fear of being beaten out by Singapore doesn’t quite overcome trepidation about the potential harm of shell companies.

Hong Kong: Green with FOMO?

Hong Kong: Green with FOMO?

Photographer: Bloomberg/Bloomberg

Just a few weeks ago, Hong Kong seemed to cast a longing eye at blank-check companies. But is it a real craving? The Asian financial center may simply want to minimize the regret it would feel — and be made to feel by investors and the media — if those deals went to archrival Singapore.

Fear of missing out is not a great motivation for opening up to Special Purpose Acquisition Companies. Granted, SPACs have been a major force behind the record  $600 billion boom in global initial public offerings this year. But the frenzy has been cooling since April, thanks to greater scrutiny of accounting practices of firms floated with the sole purpose of buying other companies and taking them public. A  faster-than-anticipated tapering of U.S. monetary expansion might act as a further brake on activity.