Jack Ma: Will 'Definitely Seriously Consider' a Hong Kong Listing
Alibaba will consider a Hong Kong IPO, according to CEO Jack Ma at an event in Hong Kong.
Alibaba (NYSE: BABA) might seriously consider a Hong Kong IPO, according to CEO Jack Ma's recent comments at an event in Hong Kong. The comment came in response to an invitation made by Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam on Monday about how she hoped Alibaba would consider returning to Hong Kong to list.
"Daring to speak like this marks a strong commitment, so we will definitely seriously consider the Hong Kong market," Ma said in response to Lam's speech.
Hong Kong suffered a big loss in 2014 when its stock exchange refused to accept Alibaba's governance strucuture and drove Alibaba to pursue a record-breaking $25 billion listing in New York. To amend the mistake and to battle against New York for blockbuster Chinese initial public offerings, Hong Kong now is seeking to push ahead controversial dual-class shares.
Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing, the city's exchange operator, said in December that it had begun drafting specific rules changes regarding dual-class listings and that it would be put up for a public consultation very soon.
"The market has made it clear they want the Exchange to take action to broaden Hong Kong's capital markets access and enhance its competitiveness," HKEX chief executive Charles Li said in a statement, "By the second half of next year we hope that we will see a significant number of innovative companies beginning to choose Hong Kong."
The Hong Kong exchange has been working to make itself more flexible for global investors, especially mainland Chinese investors. Stock Connect arrangements between Hong Kong and both the Shanghai and Shenzhen exchanges have eased trading rules, providing quotas of stocks that can be traded on each other's exchanges. The Hong Kong-Shanghai scheme has been in effect since 2014 and Hong Kong-Shenzhen since last year.
Jack Ma said he was definitely interested, but no further details were available about a Hong Kong listing, according to Alibaba's spokeswoman.