Alibaba heading to New York for market debut

Oliver Smith
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ESE e-commerce giant Alibaba said yesterday that it has decided to pursue an initial public offering (IPO) in the US, ending months of speculation that the firm would try to list in Hong Kong.

The flotation could be the biggest since Facebook in 2012, with analysts estimating that Alibaba has a value of at least $140bn (£84bn), and that its IPO proceeds could exceed $15bn.

Alibaba has not yet confirmed whether it will list on the Nasdaq or follow the swathes of tech stocks, such as Twitter and King, that have chosen the New York Stock Exchange in recent months.

Meanwhile Twitter-like Chinese messaging service Weibo also filed on Friday to raise $500m from the US market, in an initial public offering that analysts expect will value the company at around $5.1bn.

American markets are expected to see more IPOs from Chinese corporations in 2014 than in any year since 2010. The snubs to both Hong Kong and London come as a survey claimed the capital has lost its crown as the world’s leading financial centre.

London slipped from the top of the global rankings, scoring 784 against 786 for New York, according to the Global Financial Centres Index compiled by London-based consultancy Z/Yen.

“This seems to be based on a number of factors including... uncertainty over Europe, the perception that London might be becoming less welcoming to foreigners and perceived levels of market manipulation,” said Z/Yen associate director Mark Yeandle.