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CAPITAL MARKETS

Alibaba secondary listing a rare good-news story for Hong Kong

The first deal under new 19C listing rules will raise $12.9 billion if greenshoe is exercised.

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Alibaba's co-founder Jack Ma is seen on the screen at the group's listing ceremony at HKEX on Tuesday

Hong Kong has needed a good-news story for quite a while. The up to $12.9 billion secondary listing of Alibaba won’t bring peace to the streets, but it is a useful illustration of the city’s enduring strength as a financial market.

The Alibaba deal rained accolades. It is the largest equity offering worldwide this year, the largest Hong Kong equity offering since AIA in 2010, and the largest tech follow-on anywhere in the world.

Alibaba becomes the largest market capitalization company listed in Hong Kong.

“It is hugely significant for Hong Kong,” says a source close to the deal. “It has a positive impact on Hong Kong markets and it is a major milestone.”

Of greater significance, though, is that it is the first of a new type of deal called Chapter 19C. This ungainly name refers to new rules from Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (HKEX) that came into force last year after much consultation.