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Why Alibaba Is Moving Ahead With $15B Hong Kong Listing Despite Unrest

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Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group (BABA) is looking to kick off a Hong Kong share offering to raise as much as $15 billion later this month, despite ongoing protests in the China-controlled city-state that have been marked by months of protests. 

The U.S.-listed online marketplace known as the "Amazon of China" is expected to seek approval from Hong Kong's listing committee as early as next Thursday. The listing process and book-build would then proceed during the week of Nov. 25, according to Reuters. 

Alibaba had been working on an August listing in Hong Kong but put the effort on hold amid anti-government protests and general economic uncertainty in the region.

However, expectations have been that it would eventually move forward, as Alibaba views the Hong Kong deal as a way to diversify its access to capital markets, according to analysts.

If it proceeds, the transaction would be the world's largest cross-border secondary listing. Alibaba currently holds the record for the biggest initial public offering for its $25 billion float in New York in 2014.

The new timing means the company will have an opportunity to show prospective investors its most recent sales figures after Monday's Singles' Day, mainland China's largest annual online shopping day geared toward non-married Chinese singles. 

Singles' Day sales reached $30 billion last year. By contrast, retail analysts peg U.S. cyber Monday sales at approximately $10 billion.

Alibaba last week posted second-quarter sales of 119 billion Chinese yuan ($16.651 billion), a figure that topped the Wall Street consensus forecast but showed a notable slowdown in growth from the 54% pace recorded over the second quarter of 2018. 

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