Alibaba goes paperless for $13.4 billion listing in a first for Hong Kong – source

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A logo of Alibaba Group is seen during Alibaba Group’s 11.11 Singles’ Day global shopping festival at the company’s headquarters in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, China, November 11, 2019. REUTERS/Aly Song

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Alibaba Group (BABA.N) will carry out Hong Kong’s first paper-less stock market listing with its $13.4 billion share sale, according to a source with knowledge of the matter, ending the long-held tradition of Hong Kong investors queuing in bank branches to place stock orders.

The decision to fully automate the retail subscription component of the deal comes as Hong Kong is gripped by increasingly violent civil unrest. This week, many shops in the financial district closed early or did not open, while on Thursday the government closed all schools.

Alibaba does not plan to print a paper copy of its 661-page prospectus, lodged with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on Wednesday night.

The source was not authorised to speak to the media on the matter, and so declined to be named.

An Alibaba spokeswoman declined to comment on the company’s listing plans.

On Friday, the Hangzhou-based online ecommerce giant will invite retail investors to subscribe for shares.

The initial allotment for retail investors will consist of 12.5 million shares, or 2.5% of the new stock to be issued as part of the Hong Kong listing, according to a term sheet seen by Reuters.

Reporting by Scott Murdoch; Editing by Neil Fullick and Mark Potter

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