Alibaba shares surge on Hong Kong debut
Chinese online retail giant Alibaba surged Tuesday as it drew back the curtain on a Hong Kong listing the firm described as a vote of confidence in the embattled city.
The long-delayed trading day got off to a glitzy start with chief executive officer Daniel Zhang joined on stage at a stock exchange ceremony by dignitaries including city Financial Secretary Paul Chan and former Hong Kong chief executive Tung Chee-hwa.
Soon after the gong was sounded, Asia’s most valuable company soared almost eight percent, a bright start after a blockbuster initial public offering that has raised at least $11 billion, making it the city’s biggest in nearly a decade.
“On the occasion of (Alibaba’s) 20th anniversary, we have ushered in an important milestone, which is to come home, come back to Hong Kong for listing,” Zhang said at the ceremony as crowds clapped and cheered.
The listing comes as a major boost to Hong Kong, which has been wracked by months of sometimes violent protests and the China-US trade war, sending the economy into recession.
In a sign of the tensions that still permeate the city after some of the worst violence of the unrest, riot police were stationed outside the exchange on Tuesday.
Alibaba listed at HK$176 — below an HK$188 indicative ceiling originally announced — but briefly hit a high of HK$189.50 in mid-morning business.
The stock pared the gains to end the day HK$187.60, up 6.6 percent.
With 500 million shares offered to investors, the company raised HK$88 billion ($11 billion) in the IPO, the highest since AIA garnered $20.5 billion in 2010. If it chooses to use an over-allotment option to sell a further 75 million shares, it could bring in HK$101.2 billion ($12.9 billion).
Numbers play a key role in the listing. Eight is considered an auspicious number in China and its stock code is 9988, which translates as “long-standing prosperity”…….read more