E-commerce giant will not list on Hong Kong exchange
E-commerce company Alibaba Group has decided not to list its shares in Hong Kong, but has yet to commit to any other exchange, including the New York Stock Exchange, chief executive Jonathan Lu said yesterday.
The company, founded in 1999 by billionaire Jack Ma Yun, had planned to list on the Hong Kong stock exchange in an initial public offering that analysts and bankers have said could raise up to US$15 billion.
Alibaba failed to convince Hong Kong regulators to waive rules over the group's unique partnership structure - specifically that 28 partners, mainly founders and senior executives, would keep control over a majority of the board, even though they own only around 13 per cent of the company.
"We've decided not to list in Hong Kong," Lu said at the company's headquarters in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province. "The Hong Kong authorities need time to study this corporate governance structure [for knowledge-based companies]."
In his first public comment on Alibaba abandoning Hong Kong for the IPO, Lu said the company had not yet committed to list on any other exchange.
Alibaba, whose platforms handle more goods in a year than eBay and Amazon.com combined, expects to nearly triple the volume of transactions on its marketplaces to about three trillion yuan (HK$3.78 trillion) in three to four years from 2012, eventually surpassing Wal-Mart Stores. "In three years we hope to be the No 1 retail network in the world," Lu said.