Alibaba moves closer to home with Hong Kong dual-primary listing


Alibaba will apply for a dual-primary listing on Hong Kong’s stock alternate, in a transfer analysts say lays the groundwork to grant mainland Chinese traders entry to its shares and assist minimise disruption if US regulators power it to delist from Wall Street.

The New York-listed Chinese ecommerce group, which has a secondary listing in Hong Kong, mentioned its board had authorised administration to apply for a main listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and that the method was anticipated to be accomplished by the tip of 2022.

Having a main listing in Hong Kong is a requirement for dual-listed Chinese teams to be included within the metropolis’s Stock Connect programme, which permits mainland Chinese traders to trade in an organization’s shares. Inclusion may help bolster a stock’s valuation and liquidity. A twin main listing means Alibaba shall be topic to the complete guidelines of Hong Kong’s stock alternate in addition to these of New York.

Alibaba’s Hong Kong-listed shares had been 6 per cent on the noon break on Tuesday. The Hang Seng Tech index, which tracks the 30 largest tech firms listed within the territory, rose 1.6 per cent.

Chief govt Daniel Zhang mentioned the corporate hoped to foster “a wider and more diversified investor base to share in Alibaba’s growth and future, especially from China and other markets in Asia”.

Analysts mentioned the transfer marked one other step in direction of eventual inclusion within the join scheme and will simplify a transition to buying and selling solely in Hong Kong ought to US regulators power Alibaba and different Chinese firms traded in New York to delist.

“It’s a very smart move to fulfil the requirements of the Chinese [securities regulator] so eventually Alibaba can be included in the Stock Connect, and even if they’re delisted in the US they still have a back-up plan,” mentioned Dickie Wong, head of analysis at Kingston Securities.

US regulators have demanded that Chinese firms make detailed audit stories obtainable by 2024 or be ejected from Wall Street. The Financial Times reported on Monday that Beijing was getting ready a system to carry some Chinese teams into compliance with US guidelines requiring public firms to let regulators examine their audit recordsdata. But officers in Washington are sceptical that the majority will obtain full compliance.

Inclusion within the Stock Connect programme can be not assured, because it requires a majority of annual buying and selling exercise to happen in Hong Kong earlier than an organization with a main listing can qualify.

In its announcement on Tuesday, Alibaba mentioned there had been a “significant increase in its public float in transaction volume” in Hong Kong since its secondary listing in late 2019.

But it acknowledged that common each day buying and selling quantity over the previous six months in Hong Kong was about $700mn, whereas that for New York was about $3.2bn. That left Hong Kong’s share at lower than 20 per cent of the whole and much in need of qualifying for the Stock Connect.

The push for a twin main listing additionally got here after the corporate revealed that the administration of Ant Group, its affiliated funds and fintech platform, not served as Alibaba’s companions, as a part of efforts by Ant to revamp company governance after a authorities crackdown.

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