Alibaba postpones up to US$15b Hong Kong listing amid protests

Protestors gather during a rally at Victoria Park

Hong Kong. Billy H.C. Kwok—Getty Images

The Chinese e-commerce giant has postponed its previously planned Hong Kong listing due to months of protests and political instability within the city, according to Reuters. The decision was taken due to a "lack of financial and political stability in Hong Kong", following more than 11 weeks of demonstrations that have plunged the Asian financial hub into chaos.

Police say their use of tear gas, rubber bullets and bean bag rounds has been necessary to clear streets of protesters who have pelted them with eggs, bricks and gasoline bombs.

"Earlier this week, as part of our ongoing efforts to combat coordinated influence operations, we disabled 210 channels on YouTube when we discovered channels in this network behaved in a coordinated manner while uploading videos related to the ongoing protests in Hong Kong", the company said in a blog post.

While no new timetable has been formally set, Alibaba could potentially launch the deal as early as October, still seeking to raise $10 billion-$15 billion, depending on whether political tensions had eased and market conditions became more favorable, one of the people said.

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"It would be very unwise to launch the deal now or anytime soon".

Representatives from eight University Grants Committee-funded universities plus two private universities - Hong Kong Shue Yan and Hang Seng - jointly said they would hold an outdoor assembly at the University Mall in the Chinese University of Hong Kong in Shatin, which has a history of student activists holding civil disobedience events, at 3:30pm on September 2, the city's public broadcaster RTHK reported.

Last year, however, Hong Kong's stock exchange changed its rules to allow dual-class technology listings, paving the way for Alibaba's return.

Both people declined to be identified as they were not authorized to speak to media. The company envisions that its customers will meet, work and live at Alibaba, and that the company will last at least 102 years.

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Just last month, Anheuser-Busch InBev canceled a plan for an up to US$9.8 billion initial public offering of its Asia-Pacific unit. Losing Alibaba's IPO would be a big hit to the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong, which still trails behind the New York Stock Exchange as the dominate marketplace for new listings.

Meanwhile, a listing by Alibaba is a big deal for the Hong Kong stock exchange, which is lagging behind its NY rivals in the annual battle to be the leading global listings venue.

But Li added: "I am confident that companies like that ultimately will find a home here, because this is home and I think they will come".

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