Alibaba to apply for dual primary listing in Hong Kong, stock jumps

Alibaba’s Hong Kong-listed stock jumped as much as 6% on Tuesday after the company said it will apply for a dual primary listing in Hong Kong.

Kuang Da | Jiemian News | Visual China Group | Getty Images

Alibaba‘s Hong Kong-listed stock jumped 6% on Tuesday after the Chinese tech giant said it will apply for a dual primary listing in Hong Kong.

The tech giant’s shares are already traded on both U.S. and Hong Kong exchanges, but the current listing in Hong Kong is a secondary one.

The primary listing process in Hong Kong is expected to be completed before the end of 2022, the company said in a press release.

The Hong Kong Exchange recently changed rules, making it easier for more companies to get dual primary listings in the Chinese financial hub. Alibaba is reportedly the first large company to take advantage of this rule change, according to Reuters.

“We have received approval from the Board to apply to add Hong Kong as another primary listing venue, 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 Group Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Daniel Zhang said, according to the media release.

Alibaba’s stock was last up 6.02%.

‘Strategic’ move

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Having a primary listing in Hong Kong will allow Alibaba to be included in the Shenzhen-Hong Kong Stock Connect, which gives investors in mainland China access to the stock.

A China Renaissance report from January noted that, based on historical data, the turnover and velocity of companies with a secondary listing in Hong Kong are much lower than that for ADRs in the U.S.

ADRs are American depositary receipts, which serve as proxies for shares of foreign companies that list in the U.S.

At the same time, Wan said Alibaba is preparing itself even as the U.S.-China dispute over accounting issues continues.

U.S. and Chinese regulators have been working to resolve an audit dispute that has threatened U.S.-listed Chinese companies with delisting.

“In case something goes really wrong … Alibaba can shift its primary listing status back to Hong Kong and still enjoy a reasonable liquidity in terms of stock trading,” he said.

“I think it will be a good move to the company and to its investors as well,” he added.

— CNBC’s Evelyn Cheng contributed to this report.

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