Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba may have secretly made an application for a secondary listing of its shares on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, according to a report Thursday from Bloomberg. The company is currently listed on the New York Stock Exchange following a 2014 IPO that raised $25 million of new capital.
A secondary listing in Hong Kong could provide further cash — $20 billion is a figure that has been widely circulated, though is not confirmed by the company — which would potentially be used in its battle with Meituan Dianping for market share in services within China.
A Hong Kong listing would also open the company’s shares to being bought and sold by everyday Chinese investors, through the Mainland-Hong Kong stock connect system. It would also maintain Alibaba’s access to equity markets in the event that the U.S.-China trade war descends to the point where the Donald Trump regime prevents trading of Chinese companies on U.S. capital markets.
A filing from Alibaba has not yet been made public on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange’s website.
Similarly, Alibaba has offered no comment on the latest reports. Though the Alibaba-owned South China Morning Post this week reported that the company had appointed investment banks CICC and Credit Suisse to lead the potential share sale.
In New York, Alibaba ADR shares have dipped to $160.04, down 18% from their recent peak of $195.21 on May 3. Analysts report that that decline reflect growing fears about the trade war as well an over-hang of Alibaba stock being sold this quarter by Altaba, a company set up to house Yahoo’s Alibaba stake, before Yahoo was sold to Verizon.