Chinese online retail titan Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (阿里巴巴) is hoping to raise up to US$15 billion in a Hong Kong initial public offering (IPO), a report said yesterday, which would be the territory’s biggest listing for nine years.
The share sale by Asia’s biggest company would also come as Hong Kong authorities battle months of pro-democracy protests that have dented the financial hub’s economy and reputation.
Alibaba is looking to scoop up between US$10 billion and US$15 billion in the IPO, Bloomberg News cited unnamed sources as saying, and is looking to hold a hearing into the move — as mandated by Hong Kong Stock Exchange rules — next week.
The firm declined to comment when contacted by reporters.
Alibaba, which is already listed on the NASDAQ, had planned to list in the summer, but called it off owing to the demonstrations and the US-China trade dispute.
If realized, the US$15 billion IPO would be the biggest since insurance giant AIA garnered US$20.5 billion in 2010.
However, it is lower than the US$20 billion it had aimed to raise initially.
A second listing in Hong Kong would also curry favor with Beijing, which has sought to encourage its current and future big tech firms to list nearer to home after companies such as Alibaba and Baidu Inc (百度) listed on Wall Street.
Mainland Chinese authorities have stepped up moves to attract such firms, including by launching a new technology board in Shanghai in July.
The Sci-Tech Innovation Board was launched as a battle with the US for technological supremacy heated up, with Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) calling on tech leaders to become global champions, while the US has fought back in part by taking steps to clip the wings of Chinese telecom giant Huawei Technologies Co (華為).
Alibaba has capitalized on Chinese consumers’ love of e-commerce to dominate the sector in China and become one of the world’s most valuable companies.
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