Alibaba gets Hong Kong’s approval for a primary stock listing

A filing Monday showed Chinese internet tech giant Alibaba is another step closer to letting mainland Chinese investors trade its shares directly.
Kuang Da | Jiemian News | Visual China Group | Getty Images

BEIJING — Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba is making Hong Kong a “primary” listing for its shares, paving the way for mainland China investors to trade the stock directly.

The Hong Kong Stock Exchange acknowledged Monday Alibaba’s application to convert locally traded shares to primary listing from the current secondary status, according to a filing.

It is expected to take effect by the end of 2022, the document said.

Gaining primary status in Hong Kong would make Alibaba eligible for inclusion in a stock connect program with mainland China.

The stock briefly rose more than 2% in Hong Kong trading Tuesday morning.

“We expect that the Primary Conversion will allow us to broaden our investor base and facilitate incremental liquidity, and in particular expand access to China- and other Asia-based investors,” Alibaba said in Monday’s filing.

Alibaba listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 2014 in the biggest IPO at that time.

Nearly three years ago, the Chinese internet tech giant began to tap investors closer to home with a secondary listing in Hong Kong.

Last month, Alibaba took advantage of recent rule changes in Hong Kong to apply for a dual primary listing there.

Just over a week ago, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission added Alibaba to a list of U.S.-listed Chinese companies that face delisting if they cannot meet audit requirements within three years. Alibaba said it would work with regulators to maintain its listings in New York and Hong Kong.

Sophie Tremblay

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