Alibaba Holding Co. (BABA) - Get Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. Sponsored ADR Report shares surged over their first trading sessions on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange Tuesday, lifting its market value past HK$4 trillion and establishing itself as the biggest and most successful IPO of the year.
Alibaba shares debuted at their offer price of HK$176, but quickly rode a tailwind of investor appetite to rise 6.6% on the session to HK$187.60 by the close of trading. Shares in the group were the most active on the day, with HK$14 billion changing hands.
Alibaba shares aren't trading on the Hang Seng index, as secondary listings aren't eligible for inclusion on the widely-tracked benchmark. Alibaba also has unequal voting rights, another strike against it in the eyes of the Hang Seng's gatekeepers.
Alibaba's U.S.-listed shares were marked 0.1% lower in pre-market trading in New York following the Hong Kong debut, indicating an opening bell price of $190.30 each. The Hong Kong closing price of HK$187.60, however, implies a U.S. ADR price of $191.74 each.
Last week, Alibaba said it would 500 million shares on the exchange, with an aim to raise some $12.9 billion if an over-allotment clause in the listing is triggered, and use those proceeds "for the implementation of its strategies to drive user growth and engagement, empower businesses to facilitate digital transformation, and continue to innovate and invest for the long term."
Alibaba told the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission last week that the New York Stock Exchange will remain its primary listing venue, and that Japan's Softbank (SFTBY) , Alibaba said, will own around 25.2% of the group once the Hong Kong sale is completed.
The choice of Hong Kong's stock exchange for the Alibaba listing, which could be the biggest cross-border secondary offering of the year, comes amid the China-controlled territory's most serious political and social challenges since the 1997 handover.
The five months of protests, triggered by a since-withdrawn bill that would have granted significant extradition powers to Beijing, has tipped the Hong Kong economy into recession and sent the Hang Seng index into an 8% tailspin.
Alibaba's Hong Kong success is the latest in a string of positive headlines for Asia's most-valuable tech company, which notched a record $38.4 billion in sales from its Singles Day shopping event earlier this month, even as the ten-year old festival saw its growth rate pegged at 26%, well shy of the 39% pace set in 2017.
This year, of course, China's economy has slowed considerably -- to the slowest pace in three decades, by some measures -- and retail sales have eased as consumers tighten their belts amid a worrying rise both unofficial jobless rates and accelerating inflation.
That said, China is on track to record nearly $2 trillion in e-commerce sales this year, according to data from eMarketer, a figure that represents nearly 55% of the global total.
Alibaba's third quarter revenue growth was a robust 40%, taking the top line tally to just over 119 billion Chinese yuan ($16.65 billion), but it, too, was notably slower than the 54% pace recorded over the same period in 2018.