Alibaba stock jumps after announcing Hong Kong primary listing

By Michelle Toh, CNN Business

New York (CNN Business) – Alibaba announced a plan to allow more mainland Chinese investors to invest in the stock.

In a statement Tuesday, the Chinese tech giant said that its board had approved an application to upgrade its Hong Kong stock to a primary listing, which it expects to take place by the end of this year.

Alibaba (BABA) already has a primary listing in New York, where its shares have traded on the New York Stock Exchange since a massive IPO in 2014. The company will maintain its activity there and hold dual primary listings once the change is complete, it said.

The firm has had a secondary listing in Hong Kong since 2019, when it joined the slew of Chinese companies holding what were seen as homecoming parades from Wall Street.

News of the latest public offering sent Alibaba’s shares up 5% in Hong Kong and premarket trade in New York on Tuesday.

In the company’s statement, Chairman and CEO Daniel Zhang said the decision was made “in the hopes of fostering a wider and more diversified investor base to share in Alibaba’s growth and future, especially from China and other markets in Asia.”

Alibaba has been hit hard since getting caught up in a sweeping crackdown in China on its once booming technology sector. Since then, the company’s shares in New York and Hong Kong have been on a downward slide, losing 49% in value in both markets last year. Its stocks in each city have remained under pressure this year.

The upgraded listing should help ease some of the strain, according to Stephen Innes, managing partner of SPI Asset Management.

In a report to clients Tuesday, he noted that “the listing will allow Alibaba to seek inclusion in the Stock Connect links with the Shanghai and Shenzhen exchanges,” referring to a program that allows investors in mainland China and Hong Kong to trade shares across the border.

“This could boost [Alibaba’s] liquidity after a year-long selloff triggered by China’s economic slowdown and Beijing’s crackdown on its most potent internet firms,” Innes wrote.
Alibaba has faced more scrutiny since the botched IPO of its fintech affiliate, Ant Group, in 2020, which would have been the world’s largest.

The e-commerce titan was also fined a whopping 18.2 billion yuan ($2.8 billion) last year after regulators accused it of acting like a monopoly.

But investors have been hoping that China’s crackdown is coming to an end this year following a historic rout. In April, Chinese state media reported that the government had vowed to promote “healthy development” of the tech sector, sending the country’s tech stocks up.

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