THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
November 26, 2019 at 16:25 JST
A screen shows Alibaba Group co-founder Jack Ma during the Alibaba Group's listing ceremony at the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in Hong Kong on Nov. 26. (AP Photo)
HONG KONG--Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba’s shares jumped more than 8 percent in their debut on the Hong Kong stock exchange on Tuesday, an auspicious start at a time when the former British colony is reeling from political unrest.
By mid-afternoon Tuesday, Alibaba was trading at 190.45 Hong Kong dollars ($24.33 or 2,651 yen) per share. Its offering price was 176 Hong Kong dollars.
The company’s shares already are listed in New York, where its 2014 IPO set a record at $25 billion.
This offering of 500 million new shares raised more than $11 billion in Hong Kong’s biggest listing since 2010--a rare boost for the city after months of political unrest.
Charles Li, executive director and chief executive of Hong Kong Stock Exchanges praised the company for carrying out the listing.
“I am very thankful that Alibaba, after five years of traveling afar, finally came home. I’m also grateful that they choose to come despite the difficulties, despite the challenges that we are going through here in Hong Kong,” Li said.
The closing price Monday for Alibaba’s New York-traded shares was $190.45 per share. Each of the U.S. shares is the equivalent of eight Hong Kong shares, which would put the price in Hong Kong terms at 186.30 Hong Kong dollars per share.
Alibaba’s 55-year-old founder, Jack Ma, is China's richest entrepreneur with a net worth of $39 billion, according to the Hurun Report, which tracks the country's wealthy.
The company’s share code, 9988, is a homonym in Chinese for “eternal prosperity.”
It already has a significant cash pile of more than $30 billion, but is tapping the momentum from recent strong earnings, including the $38.4 billion it reported in “Singles Day” sales on Nov. 11, up 26 percent from a year earlier.
If a “greenshoe” overallotment option is exercised, the proceeds from the offering could be nearly $13 billion.
Alibaba says the proceeds from the share sale will be used to promote strategies to expand its users, help businesses with “digital transformation, and continue to innovate and invest for the long term.”
The company’s 2014 initial public offering was held in the United States due to regulatory limitations that prevented an IPO in Hong Kong.
Ma stepped down as chairman in September but is a member of the Alibaba Partnership, a 36-member group with the right to nominate a majority of the company's board of directors.
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