Alibaba praises Hong Kong ahead of $13.4 billion listing



(Reuters) – Alibaba Group Chairman Daniel Zhang said Hong Kong’s “future is bright” as the company presses on with its secondary listing in the city gripped by increasingly violent protests and recession.

“Over the last few years, there have been many encouraging reforms in Hong Kong’s capital market. During this time of ongoing change, we continue to believe that the future of Hong Kong remains bright,” Zhang wrote in the chairman’s letter included in the company’s supplementary prospectus.

Four thousand people have been arrested in Hong Kong since June and the territory’s economy has sunk into recession for the first time in a decade as the anti-government demonstrations disrupt business and deter tourists.

Alibaba (N:) is hoping to raise up to $13.4 billion (£10.47 billion) in its Hong Kong listing and the shares are due to start trading on Nov. 26. The retail price of the shares will be capped at HK$188 each.

The share sale is set to be Hong Kong’s largest in more than nine years, and comes as Beijing seeks support from the semi-autonomous territory’s tycoons and entrepreneurs to maintain a sense of business-as-usual in the face of more than five months of unrest.

Alibaba had originally considered a Hong Kong IPO in 2013, but ultimately chose New York after failing to gain approval from Hong Kong regulators for its unusual governance structure.

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