The HKEx first launched its HDR programme on 1 July 2008 and the first HDR, Vale S.A. (Stock Code: 06210), was listed on the SEHK by introduction on 8 December 2010.

Depositary receipts (DRs) are securities issued by a depositary representing the underlying shares of a listed issuer which have been placed with the depositary or its nominated custodian. The subject matter of listing is the underlying shares represented by the DRs. DRs are purchased by investors pursuant to the terms of the deposit agreement. The depositary is the agent of the listed issuer and acts as a channel between the DR holders and the listed issuer.

‘HDR’ is the informal name for a DR programme listed on the SEHK. On a general basis, there are no substantial changes to the listing regime. Issuers listing in HDR are still required to comply with the same listing requirements as issuers listing shares. The requirements for admission, the listing process and the continuing obligations are basically the same.

At present, the HDR framework applies to the Main Board only and not on GEM though it is subject to a strategic review to extend the programme to GEM. A specific chapter on HDR, Chapter 19B, was added to the Main Board Listing Rules to explain the HDR mechanism and that the Listing Rules will apply in the same manner as to the listing of equity securities although necessary modifications or clarifications are given.