Alibaba eyes US$15 billion Hong Kong IPO

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An Alibaba spokesman declined to comment to Reuters on the timing of the listing. The company listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 2014 raising $25 billion within the first day, making it the world's largest IPO in history.

Alibaba - which had roughly US$57 billion of cash and equivalents as of September - rode a national e-commerce boom that stemmed from an increasingly affluent middle class.

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.

If realised, the US$15 billion IPO would be the biggest since insurance giant AIA garnered US$20.5 billion in 2010.

The possible listing of Alibaba's shares on the Hong Kong exchange comes amid trade tensions between the US and China as well as ongoing political protests in Hong Kong.

Despite months of ongoing pro-democracy protests, Hong Kong's stock market has chugged along.

So far companies in Hong Kong have sold shares worth $22.3 billion via IPOs this year, compared with $24.5 billion on Nasdaq and $22.6 billion via the NYSE, according to Refinitiv data.

China's e-commerce and entertainment giant Alibaba is understood to be back on track with a secondary listing of its shares in Hong Kong.

That would be a welcome change for domestic Chinese investors who, because of an effective bar to owning shares overseas, have not been able to share in the success of Alibaba, and the other successful Chinese tech companies listed overseas.

The listing could yet be delayed, however, if the protests worsen once more.

Sources have said the investment banking syndicate will be put in place after Monday.

The deal is now being led by China International Capital Corp Ltd and Credit Suisse.

The company on Monday will wrap up its most important sales event of the year - Singles' Day - offering further clues on the health of consumption.

Alibaba's sales a year ago reached $30bn on the day, which was more than three times as large as Cyber Monday, the equivalent shopping day in the US.

The company reported last week that second-quarter revenue increased by 40 per cent to 119.02 billion yuan (S$23.1 billion), from 85.15 billion yuan in the same quarter past year.

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