SHANGHAI – After weeks of rumors and leaks, Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba confirmed on Friday it would list in the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
The move into the Asian financial hub comes as part of the company plan to offer 500 million ordinary shares. Some 12.5 million are destined for retail shares in Hong Kong.
The Alibaba Group, which has been listed in the New York Stock Exchange since 2014, said it would price shares at no more than 188 Hong Kong dollars ($24) each as part of its Public Retail Offering.
Its International Offer Price, comprising 487.5 million shares, will be revealed by 20 November, taking into account the closing price of shares in New York and investor demand.
“The final Public Retail Offer Price will be set at the lower of the final International Offer Price and the Maximum Public Retail Offer Price of HK$188.00 per share,” Alibaba said in a statement.
Shares are set to be traded in board lots of 100 shares each, it added.
The company’s American depositary shares (ADSs), each of which represents eight common shares after the company approved a stock split in July to raise funds, will be “fully fungible” with the Hong Kong stock.
Alibaba’s outing in Hong Kong had been long-anticipated since the Stock Exchange in the special-status Chinese territory reformed its regulation allowing firms already listed in New York and London to confidentially request to list.
It comes at a tricky time, however, as the former British colony grapples with huge pro-democracy protests that have no end in sight. The demonstrations, which began in March, have had an impact on the city’s economy and its marketplace.
Alibaba chairman and CEO Daniel Zhang, who recently took over from founder Jack Ma, shone a positive light on the company’s objective in Hong Kong.
“Hong Kong is one of the world’s most important financial centers and we are grateful for the opportunity to participate in the future of Hong Kong.
“Alibaba is guided by our mission to make it easy to do business anywhere with the vision to be a good company that lasts for 102 years.
“We aim to serve global consumers, of which more than 1 billion will be Chinese consumers, and facilitate more than RMB10 trillion of consumption on our platform within the next five years by continuing to pursue our three strategic pillars of globalization, domestic consumption and big data powered by cloud computing.”
According to sources close to Alibaba’s Hong Kong operation, the Chinese giant will be the strongest public listing when it begins trading if Saudi state oil company Aramco delays its listing until next year.
The South China Morning Post, a Hong Kong newspaper owned by Alibaba, said the company had chosen to list under the code 9988, which sounds similar to “prosperity forever” in Chinese. Moreover, the number eight and nine are symbols of good luck in both Mandarin and Cantonese.
Founded 20 years ago, the company listed in New York in 2014 offering shares for $68 each, a price that has since risen to $182.88 at the closing of the stock exchange on Thursday.
Alibaba is the largest e-commerce company in China and the seventh in the world with a market value of $486.8 billion.