In Trends

Alibaba to raise $20 billion


The Chinese e-commerce giant is reportedly looking to raise $20 billion through a secondary listing in Hong Kong. That’s bigger than the initial public offerings of Uber (UBER), Lyft (LYFT) and Pinterest (PINS) combined.

SEE ALSO : Alibaba pays US$250m to settle pre-IPO lawsuit

The news was first reported by Bloomberg.

A person familiar with the situation told CNN Business that the company “will not rule out an option on any listing,” noting that a secondary share listing would help the company diversify funding channels and add liquidity.

Listing in Hong Kong would make sense, given that investors there know the company better than in other countries, the person said.

Alibaba declined to comment.

The Chinese tech firm holds the record for the world’s largest IPO, raising $25 billion when it listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 2014.

At the time, Alibaba was valued at $168 billion. Today, it is one of the largest listed Chinese companies with a market value of more than $400 billion.

A secondary listing in Hong Kong would be “a big win” for the city, said Ringo Choi, the head of Asia-Pacific IPOs for consulting firm Ernst and Young.

Alibaba chose to go public in New York because the Hong Kong Stock Exchange had a “one share, one vote” policy when it came to publicly listed companies. But Alibaba founder Jack Ma and other key management figures wanted to exert more control over the company, according to Choi.

Hong Kong changed the rules last year, allowing companies with large market values to have different voting rights for individuals that have crucial roles.

“This was seen as a way to pave the path for Alibaba to come list in Hong Kong,” said Choi. The city also had the added benefit of luring the massive IPOs of Chinese tech companies Xiaomi and Meituan Dianping last year.

Alibaba is aiming to file a listing application in Hong Kong in the second half of this year, according to Bloomberg.

The company is still mostly known for being an e-commerce behemoth. On Singles Day, its annual online retail blitz, it pulled in more than $30 billion in sales over a 24-hour period in November.

But China’s tech giants have had to expand beyond their core businesses to stay competitive. Alibaba is investing heavily in internet services. Its cloud unit competes with Amazon (AMZN), Google-owner Alphabet (GOOGL), Microsoft (MSFT) and IBM (IBM), and reported a revenue increase of 76% for the fiscal year ended in March.

Alibaba has also become a major investor in businesses around the world. It has plowed money into companies like Chinese ride-hailing firm DiDi Chuxing and Indian payments platform Paytm.

Earlier this month, the company reported earnings for its fourth quarter and fiscal year that topped forecasts. But China’s slowing economy and ongoing trade tensions with the United States have made Alibaba investors skittish. Shares in the company are up 13% for the year, but down more than 25% from a high last June.

Additionally, Alibaba is going to compete with Amazon globally by allowing businesses from a select few other countries to sell goods on its platform. AliExpress, which enabled small and medium-sized companies in China to sell goods to over 150 countries, has opened up to businesses in Italy, Russia, Spain and Turkey reports The Financial Times. The company hopes to expand AliExpress to retailers in other countries.

AliExpress, which solely consists of third-party retailers, is notable for selling items at “too good to be true” prices, such as 49-cent iPhone cases or counterfeit luxury handbags for a few US dollars. Last year, AliExpress registered a 94 percent spike in sales.

“This year is the first year for our ‘local to global’ strategy,” said Trudy Dai, president of AliExpress to FT. “This strategy is intimately connected to Alibaba’s broader globalization strategy.”

SEE ALSO : Alibaba supports sustainable development beyond the Earth Day

Alibaba’s global expansion is a direct aim at Amazon, which is currently the world’s largest online retailer. But Alibaba’s presence in China is unrivaled, and the country is expected to surpass the US this year as the biggest retail market in the world.

Meanwhile, Amazon has struggled to make much of an impact in China, where shoppers prefer Alibaba and Last month, Amazon announced it was shuttering its Chinese domestic e-commerce business.

(Source: CNN )

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