Chinese giant Alibaba has announced plans to apply for a primary listing in Hong Kong and keep its listing in the United States, opening up the firm to a vast pool of mainland China investors for the first time.
The move announced on Tuesday would see Alibaba become the first large dual-primary listed company on the New York Stock Exchange and Hong Kong Stock Exchange, taking advantage of a new rule allowing dual primary listings.
The move comes after the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEX) in January announced it would allow “innovative” Chinese companies with weighted voting rights or variable interest entities – where a company sets up an offshore entity that allows foreign investors to buy into the stock – to carry out dual primary listings in the city.
CEO Daniel Zhang said Alibaba was pursuing another primary listing venue to foster a “wider and more diversified investor base”.
“Hong Kong and New York are both major global financial centers, with shared characteristics of openness and diversity,” Zhang said in a statement. “Hong Kong is also the launch pad for Alibaba’s globalization strategy, and we are fully confident in China’s economy and future.”
Alibaba went public in New York in September 2014 and completed a secondary listing in Hong Kong in November 2019.
Once a darling of technology stock investors, the e-commerce giant saw its stock price plummet after Beijing launched a sweeping crackdown on private industry that left the company with a $2.8bn fine and scuppered the initial public offering (IPO) of its affiliate Ant.
Alibaba’s stock jumped four percent at the start of trading in Hong Kong amid expectations the move would give mainland China investors easier access to its shares.
While Alibaba already has a secondary listing in Hong Kong, the listing does not allow it to join the popular Stock Connect programme that links to bourses in Shanghai and Shenzhen.