Alibaba launches Hong Kong IPO, aims to raise $13.4 billion

Hong Kong, Nov 15 (IANS) Amid violent protests that have gripped the city, Chinese behemoth Alibaba on Friday launched its public retail offering of 500 million new ordinary shares on the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong, in a bid to raise up to $13.4 billion.

The overall offering initially comprises 12.5 million new shares under the public retail offering and 487.5 million shares for subscription globally.

The total number of shares available under the public retail offering could be adjusted to up to a maximum of 50 million new shares, representing 10 percent of total shares initially available under the overall offering.

“When Alibaba Group went public in 2014, we missed out on Hong Kong with regret. Hong Kong is one of the world’s most important financial centres. Over the last few years, there have been many encouraging reforms in Hong Kong’s capital market,” Daniel Zhang, Alibaba Group Chairman and CEO, said in a statement.

The company also expects to grant the international underwriters an over-allotment option to purchase up to 75 million additional new shares.

The offer price for the public retail offering will be no more than 188 HK dollars (24 US dollars) per share. Alibaba will set the international offer price by November 20, reports Xinhua.

“We aim to serve global consumers, of which more than 1 billion will be Chinese consumers and facilitate more than 10 trillion yuan (about 1.43 trillion US dollars) of consumption on our platform within the next five years by continuing to pursue our three strategic pillars of globalization, domestic consumption and big data powered by cloud computing,” Zhang added.

The listing in Hong Kong will allow more of the company’s users and stakeholders in the Alibaba digital economy across Asia to invest and participate in Alibaba’s growth.

In addition to expanding the company’s overall investor base, the offering will tap into substantial new capital pools in Asia and create a nearly round-the-clock market for global investors to trade Alibaba shares, the company said.

Alibaba’s China retail marketplaces have 785 million mobile monthly active users.

“Our longer-term goals by the year 2036 are to serve 2 billion consumers globally, create 100 million jobs, and provide the necessary infrastructure to support 10 million small businesses to become profitable on our platforms,” said the Alibaba CEO.

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