'Open sesame' brings record debut gains for Alibaba investors

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 07 November, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 07 November, 2007, 12:00am

Shares of, the country's largest e-commerce portal, rose more than 192 per cent on the first day of trading, becoming the most successful debut this year.

Alibaba closed at HK$39.50 a share on turnover of HK$17.4 billion, making it the most actively traded stock in the market yesterday. Its initial public offering price was HK$13.50.

The company's strong debut broke the record set by Xinjiang Xinxin Mining, whose shares rose more than 119 per cent on their October 12 debut. The third-best IPO gainer this year was China High Speed Transmission Equipment Group, which rose 97 per cent on July 4, its first day of trading.

Investors who subscribed to one board lot of 500 Alibaba shares made a paper profit of HK$13,000.

Alibaba opened at HK$32 but slipped to about HK$28 during morning trading before surging in the afternoon to an intraday high of HK$39.95.

The closing price of HK$39.50 puts Alibaba's market capitalisation at HK$200 billion. The company's valuation is more than 300 times its 2007 estimated profit.

Alibaba is now China's largest listed internet company, surpassing the Nasdaq-listed, which has a market capitalisation of HK$110.5 billion.

'The shares were priced at a fair value,' chairman Jack Ma Yun told a post-debut media briefing yesterday. 'We are putting the money on the table and letting our investors share it. I feel satisfied with the share price performance on the first day trading in Hong Kong.'

Mr Ma said investors in Alibaba were betting on the prosperous future of China's 42 million small and medium-sized enterprises, which composed the major part of mainland trading activities.

'The e-commerce business should be one of the fastest-growing sectors in China,' Mr Ma said. ' is the market leader and we will create value, after listing in Hong Kong, for our shareholders.'

Alibaba was working with Foxconn Technology Group, a Taiwan-based technology firm controlled by Terry Guo Tai-ming, Taiwan's richest man, to use the company's e-business model in Foxconn's business, Mr Ma said.

Foxconn is one of Alibaba's cornerstone investors with a 0.4 per cent stake.