Alibaba listing: Company finds strong demand for Hong Kong shares despite turmoil in the city

China’s biggest e-commerce company will stop taking orders from retail investors for its $13 billion share sale later on Tuesday after seeing stronger-than-expected demand, a person familiar with the matter told CNN Business.

The enthusiasm is a vote of confidence in the Asian financial hub, which has been rocked by months of civil unrest. The Hang Seng Index (HSI) fell 4.8% last week as the city grappled with escalating levels of violence. So far this week, the index has gained 2.9% despite a further escalation in violence centered around the siege of a university.
Alibaba will close its order books on Tuesday at 12 p.m. ET in New York, half a day earlier than originally planned, the person said. The plan was first reported by Reuters.

The Hong Kong listing was “multiple times subscribed,” the person said, adding that the final price retail investors will pay for the Hong Kong listing will be based on Alibaba’s closing price Tuesday in New York, where its shares have been traded since 2014.

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The company founded by billionaire entrepreneur Jack Ma raised $25 billion in that initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange that shattered records as the largest IPO in history.

At the current price of Alibaba’s New York shares, the Hong Kong sale would fall short of the share price of 188 Hong Kong dollars ($24) the company had set as a ceiling.

But it would still raise nearly $13 billion if the company’s bankers exercise an option to purchase some additional shares.

Alibaba declined to comment.

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The listing would surpass AB InBev’s (BUD) roughly $5 billion IPO of its Asia business in Hong Kong earlier this year as well as Uber’s $8.1 billion debut in New York, the year’s biggest so far. It could also cement the Hong Kong stock exchange’s status as this year’s largest venue for public offerings.
The offering is the latest sign that investors and companies have not been scared away by months of protests in Hong Kong, which recently sank into its first recession in a decade.

Alibaba is scheduled to list shares on November 26, according to a term sheet.