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Hong Kong scrambles for BOC shares

Hundreds of potential investors have been queuing up outside Hong Kong banks in the hope of buying newly available shares in Bank of China (BOC).

BOC's $9.9 billion initial public offering in Hong Kong is expected to be the biggest the world has seen in over six years, making around $1.28 billion worth of shares available to local investors.

It is also the biggest sale of shares ever made by a Chinese bank.

At around $0.35 a share, Hong Kong investors are scrambling to get their hands on what is viewed as a stake in the future economic prosperity of China - the world's fastest growing economy.

In expectation of the demand, the Beijing-based bank printed three million share application forms – nearly as many as the entire working population of Hong Kong.

Investor enthusiasm comes following the $9.2 billion sale of shares in China Construction Bank last year, with investors seeing a massive 49 per cent increase in share value since then.

The news that major global investment firms including Royal Bank of Scotland and Merrill Lynch have also bought stakes in the bank has also increased confidence.