Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKEx) notes news reports of allegations from some Mainland web portals about the fairness and the transparency of the process used to select websites to provide free real-time prices of the Hong Kong securities market to the public under a pilot programme, and HKEx would like to make the following clarification:
Real-time HKEx securities market data is made available to market users via licensed information vendors. There are more than 120 real-time market data information vendors collectively offering more than 700 securities and derivatives market data services. Among those 120 real-time information vendors, eight of them are Mainland companies. Market data services offered by these eight Mainland information vendors include streaming real-time securities market data provided on the Internet.
In September last year HKEx proposed a new data service offering free real-time market prices on selected web portals in Hong Kong and the Mainland (the Project). The main objectives of the Project are to:
- increase market transparency;
- raise the Hong Kong market profile in the Mainland to prepare for closer integration of the two markets; and
- explore new revenue streams.
Such new services will be provided on a snapshot basis.
Existing dissemination channels will not be affected by the new free real-time market price service. Any party who satisfies the licensing requirements may apply for a vendor licence from HKEx and provide market data services to investors.
Following its established tendering procedures, HKEx published a Request for Expressions of Interest (RFI) and a Request for Proposal (RFP) for the Project. Details are given below.
- On 17 September 2008, HKEx issued a press release to invite responses from the market to the RFI for the Project. The press release received considerable coverage in both Hong Kong and Mainland newspapers and certain websites.
- On 18 September 2008 , the RFI was posted on the HKEx website and published in two newspapers in Hong Kong. The same RFI was published in two Mainland newspapers on 26 September 2008 following the procedures required for placing advertisements in Mainland newspapers.
- From 18 September 2008 up to 16 Octobr 2008 up to 16 October 2008, an information pack of the RFI which contained all details was given on request to 56 parties, including 11 Mainland companies.
- At noon 17 October 2008, the RFI was closed and 34 preliminary proposals in response to the RFI had been received, 25 of which from Hong Kong and nine of which from the Mainland. A few submissions and enquiries were received after the RFI deadline. No late submissions were entertained on the grounds of procedural fairness. All responses submitted after the RFI deadline were returned.
- HKEx's Project evaluation team short-listed 12 candidates to submit full proposals for the Project under the RFP process. These 12 candidates included seven websites from Hong Kong and five from the Mainland. The RFI evaluation was based on the criteria stated in the RFI document.
- On 11 December 2008, the RFP was issued to the 12 short-listed candidates who were invited to submit full proposals. Unsuccessful RFI respondents were also notified.
- At noon 6 January 2009, the RFP was closed and all 12 candidates had submitted their full proposals before the RFP deadline. All 12 candidates subsequently presented their proposals to HKEx in person. The evaluation of the full proposals took place in accordance with the criteria set out in the RFP document.
Among the 12 RFP candidates, HKEx has short-listed six candidates to further discuss the detailed arrangements and key terms of the proposed new service. Among the six candidates chosen for further discussions, three are from the Hong Kong market and the other three are from the Mainland market.
The new service will initially be offered in the form of a pilot programme and is expected to be launched in the second half of 2009. HKEx believes that the new service will benefit investors, in particular retail investors, and therefore be welcomed by the market. The pilot programme will last for two years. HKEx will closely monitor market reaction to the programme and undertake a review in the last six-month period of the programme and consider in what form the programme should be continued.
HKEx believes the Project has been run in a fair and transparent manner and cannot accept any allegations to the contrary. Both RFI and RFP are now available under "Request for Proposals" under "HKEx Corporate" at the top of the homepage of the HKEx Website for public reference.