HONG KONG, July 26 (Reuters Breakingviews) – There’s a certain magic to governance tweaks that boost market value by $12 billion instantly. Alibaba’s (9988. HK) Tuesday announced that it will upgrade its Hong Kong listing to a primary status alongside its New York one and did just that with an initial 5% bounce. That paves the way for the $273 billion Chinese e-commerce titan to be included in the trading link between Hong Kong and mainland bourses, allowing investors in Shanghai and Shenzhen their first chance to buy shares directly.
The upgrade has been long hoped-for by investors. Bernstein analysts reckon that if 7% of Alibaba is owned by mainland investors, a level similar to Hong Kong-listed rival Tencent (0700. HK), that would involve about $21 billion of inflows.
Alibaba’s move also implies Chinese companies aren’t putting much faith in a resolution of Beijing’s row with Washington over audit inspections. Failure to solve that will see Alibaba and its compatriots forced out of New York in 2024. Less than a quarter of Alibaba’s $4 billion-odd daily trading takes place in Hong Kong now. It’s fair to assume that is only going to rise. (By Jennifer Hughes)