Hong Kong authorities haven’t given up hope that e-commerce giant Alibaba Group will list its shares in the city, with officials now aiming to lure the mainland firm for a secondary listing here after its initial public offering (IPO) in the United States, Ming Pao Daily reported Friday.
Alibaba said last year that Hong Kong was its preferred destination for a listing, but the plans didn’t succeed as local regulators had problems with the company’s partnership structure.
Authorities are now said to be seeking fresh talks with Alibaba to resolve the issue.
Ming Pao cited a source with knowledge of the matter as saying that both the Hong Kong government and the local stock exchange have recently invited Alibaba for discussions.
An Alibaba spokesman declined to comment, the report said.
Hong Kong’s Financial Services Development Council has in a recent report suggested that the government ease the current rules, which require listed firms to treat all stakeholders equally to protect minority holders.
It proposed the creation of several new listing boards, including one specializing in companies with unique shareholding structure, which would enable better match between different types of issuers and investors and accommodate innovations in shareholding and management structure.
The board is seen to be tailor-made for Alibaba.
Chan Ka-keung, Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, said on Thursday that he agreed with the council and that Hong Kong should be more open to allowing listings of firms with different shareholding structures.
However, Wu Wai-chung, former vice chairman of the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission, said listing rules should not be changed without protection in place for ordinary shareholders who normally do not have sufficient knowledge to gauge potential risks.
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