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Alibaba sets eyes on $15bn Hong Kong listing

10 November 2019

However, that did not work because of the fierce protests in Hong Kong, which made investors more cautious.

Alibaba's sales past year reached US$30 billion on Singles Day, which was more than three times as large as on Cyber Monday, the equivalent shopping day in the US.

However the company is looking to expand its Chinese customer base beyond its core market in big cities to less developed areas to combat slowing retail sales growth.

The company had been working on an August listing in Hong Kong but the transaction was put on hold due to anti-government protests in the city creating financial and political uncertainty.

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But the Hong Kong listing would provide a second major market for investors to buy its shares, potentially including buyers on the Chinese mainland.

More recently, office-space sharing start-up WeWork was forced to drop IPO plans and seek a cash injection from Japan's SoftBank Group, a major shareholder, as its valuation collapsed to US$8 billion from US$47 billion as recently as January. The Hang Seng Index is up 10% so far this year.

Alibaba's share sale, which could be the largest globally this year, will be a triumph for a Hong Kong stock exchange that lost many of China's brightest technology stars to U.S. rivals.

Demonstrations are expected to escalate over the weekend as the death of a student inflames rioters who are calling for "flash-mob"-style rallies".

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The will-they-or-won't-they story of Alibaba's much-touted Hong Kong IPO is heading into the home stretch, as a source close to the company told Caixin on Friday the company will go for a listing hearing with the Hong Kong stock exchange next week.

Credit Suisse and China International Capital Corp. will be the lead underwriters on the deal.

Alibaba's sales past year reached $30bn on the day, which was more than three times as large as Cyber Monday, the equivalent shopping day in the US. The group also beat financial analysts' expectations of its revenue, with a 40% year-on-year increase to RMB119 billion (US$16.7 billion). Major investment banks led by Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs are now jockeying for the most senior positions behind those two.

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Alibaba sets eyes on $15bn Hong Kong listing