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Alibaba says 'future of Hong Kong remains bright' as it sells shares

Internet giant launches second public offering

HONG KONG - Hong Kong's financial markets are getting a boost of confidence from Alibaba's multibillion-dollar public offering.

The Chinese e-commerce company, founded by billionaire entrepreneur Jack Ma, said Friday it would begin selling shares to retail investors for up to 188 Hong Kong dollars ($24) each. It began selling to institutional investors earlier this week, and it expects to price more shares next week.

Alibaba first announced plans for its secondary listing in Hong Kong earlier this week, and hopes to raise up to $13 billion through the sale. That would make it the year's biggest listing so far.

Hong Kong's benchmark Hang Seng Index, meanwhile, opened up 0.8% on Friday, putting it on track to rise for the first time in three days. The index has tumbled this week as Hong Kong grapples with escalating violence. Alibaba's public offering appears to be injecting some positivity into the market, since it indicates that investors and companies aren't scared off by the long-running political turmoil.

"When Alibaba Group went public in 2014, we missed out on Hong Kong with regret," Daniel Zhang, chairman and chief executive officer for Alibaba Group, said in a letter to investors Friday. "During this time of ongoing change, we continue to believe that the future of Hong Kong remains bright. We hope we can contribute, in our small way, and participate in the future of Hong Kong."

Alibaba is scheduled to list shares November 26, according to a term sheet.

Alibaba first went public in 2014, raising $25 billion on the New York Stock Exchange and shattering records as the largest IPO in history.

Other major markets in the region mostly traded higher on Friday, too.

Japan's Nikkei 225 and South Korea's Kospi rose 0.7% and 1.1%, respectively. But China's Shanghai Composite Index reversed a higher open and dropped 0.4%.

US futures also rose during Asian trading hours on Thursday. Futures for the Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq gained between 0.3% and 0.4%.

Correction: An earlier version of this report gave an incorrect US dollar price for the new Alibaba shares.


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