Alibaba Group Holding’s $11 billion Hong Kong listing is set to propel the financial hub to the top spot globally in terms of fundraising from initial public offerings (IPO).
The share sale by the e-commerce giant is a huge boon for Hong Kong, which has been rocked by increasingly violent anti-government protests and earlier this year lagged rival New York exchanges in IPO volumes.
Companies have raised $22.6 billion from IPOs listing on Hong Kong’s stock market this year, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Alibaba’s listing is set to push that to about $33.8 billion, just ahead of the $33.5 billion raised by companies listing on the Nasdaq. Companies have raised $31 billion so far on the New York Stock Exchange.
Hong Kong held the top spot last year thanks to a number of multibillion dollar IPOs, but dropped to fourth place earlier this year as offerings dwindled. It has been No 1 for three of the past five years: In 2018, 2016 and 2015.
After a summer drought marked by Anheuser-Busch InBev’s failure to pull off a $9.8 billion IPO of its Asian unit, Hong Kong managed a rebound in the autumn, topping all other exchanges for first-time share sales over September and October.
Alibaba’s smooth sailing in its share sale so far is proof that Hong Kong remains a viable fundraising venue despite raging protests that have forced the cancellation of multiple events and a US-China trade war that has roiled markets.
Still, 2019 is far from over and New York’s markets could still stage a comeback given Hong Kong’s razor-thin lead. And Alibaba’s successful listing does not mean the door is open for everyone.
On Monday, South African gold mining company Heaven-Sent Gold Group had to shelve its Hong Kong IPO because of “market conditions”.