Home BUSINESS News Alibaba to Pursue Primary Listing in Hong Kong

Alibaba to Pursue Primary Listing in Hong Kong

Alibaba to Pursue Primary Listing in Hong Kong


HONG KONG—Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. will pursue a primary listing of its stock in Hong Kong, hedging its bets as regulatory pressure on Chinese companies grows on both sides of the Pacific.

The move comes as Beijing and Washington remain at loggerheads over the audits of U.S.-listed Chinese companies.

More than 250 Chinese companies including Alibaba face mass delistings from the U.S. if the two countries cannot reach a deal for U.S. regulators to inspect the audit papers of Chinese firms.

The new primary listing, which Alibaba expects to complete by the end of this year, also will pave the way for Alibaba’s inclusion in Hong Kong’s Stock Connect trading link with mainland China, making its stocks accessible to investors there.

The Chinese e-commerce giant listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 2014—at the time the biggest-ever initial public offering—and will maintain that listing. Alibaba obtained a secondary listing in Hong Kong in 2019. The Hong Kong listing is contingent on the listing status in New York and the shares traded in the two markets are fully fungible. Investors can choose to hold Alibaba shares in either market.

Still, trading in Alibaba shares continues to gravitate toward New York, as is the case with other Chinese tech stocks dual-listed in Hong Kong. In the six months ended June 30, Alibaba’s average daily trading volume in Hong Kong was approximately $700 million, compared with about $3.2 billion in the U.S.

The primary listing in Hong Kong and subsequent inclusion in the stock trading link with mainland China could bring at least $21 billion in new investor inflows into Alibaba shares, according to Robin Zhu, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein.

Investors from mainland China currently hold 7% to 10% of the shares in

Tencent Holdings Ltd.




Kuaishou Technology,

all tech giants that are included in the trading link, Mr. Zhu estimated.

Dozens of U.S.-listed Chinese companies have listed their shares in Hong Kong, as the threat of delisting in the U.S. looms. Chinese companies could be booted from American exchanges if U.S. regulators aren’t able to inspect their audit working papers for three years in a row. The deadline is set to end in 2024.

Most of those companies have come to Hong Kong via secondary listings, which are less onerous to maintain, because Hong Kong often gives companies waivers of its disclosure and corporate governance standards for those listings. Pursuing a primary listing would require tighter compliance.

A few companies, including electric-vehicle maker

Xpeng Inc.,

took the dual-primary listing route in Hong Kong in order to be accessed by mainland China investors.

Write to Jing Yang at Jing.Yang@wsj.com

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Appeared in the July 26, 2022, print edition as ‘Alibaba to Seek Main Listing in Hong Kong.’


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