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Alibaba set for Hong Kong IPO

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The United States-listed Chinese e-commerce giant is due to seek approval from Hong Kong's listing committee this week two people with direct knowledge of the matter said

The company is first due to seek approval from Hong Kong's listing committee next week, on Thursday, two separate sources with direct knowledge of the matter said.

An Alibaba spokesman declined to comment to Reuters on the timing of the listing.

The group conducted a record breaking IPO in 2014 on the New York Stock Exchange and now enjoys a market capitalization of $488 billion.

What you should know: If Alibaba realises up to the planned $15 billion IPO, it will be the biggest IPO since insurance company, AIA Group Limited which raised $20.5 billion in 2010. Alibaba previously mentioned that the Company is looking to expand into less developed regions as its retail sales continue to slow down.

Alibaba's share sale, which could be the largest globally this year, will be a triumph for a Hong Kong stock exchange that lost many of China's brightest technology stars to U.S. rivals.

If both the Alibaba and Aramco deals succeed, they could provide a boost for moribund capital markets, where investors have proved increasingly sceptical of the valuations sought by much-hyped tech start-ups, such as ride-hailing giant Uber Technologies which has fallen 34 per cent since its float in May.

More recently, office-space sharing startup WeWork was forced to drop its IPO plans and seek a cash injection from investor SoftBank Group 9984.T as its valuation collapsed to $8 billion from $47 billion. The Hang Seng Index is up 10% so far this year.

The possible listing of Alibaba's shares on the Hong Kong exchange comes amid trade tensions between the US and China as well as ongoing political protests in Hong Kong.

Alibaba's listing on the Hong Kong exchange would become the world's biggest cross-border secondary listing, according to Dealogic data.

The result beat analysts' expectations of revenue of 116.8 billion yuan ($16.6bn), according to International Brokers Estimate System data from Refinitiv. It might also be seen as a vote of confidence in beleaguered Hong Kong, which has suffered from five months of disruptive civil protests against the city's government and perceived influence from Beijing in the once free-wheeling city's business and social affairs.

Already, US lawmakers such as Senator Marco Rubio are agitating for measures to curb investment flows to Chinese companies, including the extreme option of tossing US-listed firms off American bourses.

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