TL;DR: Reuters Business claimed e-commerce giant Alibaba is hitting the pause button on its highly anticipated Hong Kong listing, citing “two people with knowledge of the matter.” The delay is in response to increasing tensions in the city between citizens and their local government’s perceived too cozy relationship with Beijing.
Alibaba Halts Hong Kong $15 Billion Listing
“Alibaba held a board meeting before its latest quarterly earnings release last week, during which the board decided to postpone the Hong Kong listing which was set to take place in late August,” Reuters Business reported.
The company is China’s largest brand within the e-commerce genre. Alibaba Group Holding Ltd was ready to rack up a double-digit billions injection listing before suddenly pulling out. Nearly three months of protests within the economic engine, the country’s capitalist oasis, made the giant company nervous. Indeed, even the Hong Kong stock market has begun to slow.
An unnamed source from the company added, “It would be very unwise to launch the deal now or anytime soon. It would certainly annoy Beijing by offering Hong Kong such a big gift given what’s going on in the city.”
Founded by the charismatic Jack Ma and Peng Lei shortly before the turn of the present century, Alibaba is the very definition of a juggernaut. Its revenues this year alone are up over $120 billion, and when the company IPO’d back in 2014 it set a record that still stands today, $25 billion. It is widely recognized as the world’s largest retailer, and has ties to everything internet, including venture capital and investment.
Ma will most likely end his tenure with Alibaba this year, and reports have also surfaced the Chinese government pushed for that to happen sooner than expected due to his perceived fervent freer markets advocacy. The company has had an uneasy relationship with bitcoin as well, often trying to stay between official government pronouncements against the idea and the appetite for all things cryptocurrency among its customers. Ma himself has referred to the crypto phenomenon as faddish and a bubble, but praised “blockchain technology.”
So far analysts are evenly torn on the move. A pulling back by the likes of Alibaba could be taken as a sign of quiet solidarity from the mainland-based company, while pointing to how things might’ve gotten out of hand at the barricades as well — a way of playing both sides against the middle. Sources also explained the company was looking toward October for a possible listing relaunch should conditions in Hong Kong improve.
DISCLOSURE: The author holds cryptocurrency as part of his financial portfolio, including BCH.
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