Shares of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba saw a strong debut in Hong Kong on Tuesday morning, after pricing its shares at 176 Hong Kong dollars (approx. $22.5) apiece, becoming the world’s largest listing so far.

Hong Kong-listed shares of Alibaba surged more than 6% around the open at 9:30 a.m. HK/SIN, before hitting an early intraday high of 189.50 Hong Kong dollars per share. It last traded around 7% higher than its listing price, as of 9:46 a.m. HK/SIN.

The Chinese tech titan issued 500 million new ordinary shares plus 75 million “greenshoe” options. If the overallotment option is exercised, underwriting banks will be able to sell more shares than the original amount set.

Ahead of the highly anticipated debut, one investor said Alibaba’s decision to list in the Hong Kong Stock Exchange is “very, very positive.”

“It was always very strange that the largest Chinese company was listed exclusively in the U.S.,” Mary Manning, portfolio manager at Ellerston Capital, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Monday, ahead of the the listing. Alibaba went public in September 2014, and chose the New York Stock Exchange for its debut.

Alibaba’s secondary listing in Hong Kong became the world’s largest offering so far in 2019 — larger than the roughly $8 billion raised by Uber in May. Still, it is expected to be beaten to the title by Saudi Aramco’s anticipated listing in Riyadh in December.

The company previously said those retail shares will be priced at no more than 188 Hong Kong dollars (about $24.01).

“I applaud Alibaba for taking the step to list in Hong Kong at a time when a lot of people have lost confidence … in what’s going on in Hong Kong as a market,” Manning said, referring to the widespread unrest in the Asian financial hub that has lasted for months.

Alibaba’s offering is a huge boost for the Hong Kong market which has seen business slow amid the ongoing pro-democracy protests, which have escalated in recent weeks.

“When Alibaba Group went public in 2014 , we missed out on Hong Kong with regret. Hong Kong is one of the world’s most important financial centers,” Daniel Zhang, CEO and chairman of Alibaba said in a letter to investors in mid-November.

“Over the last few years, there have been many encouraging reforms in Hong Kong’s capital market. During this time of ongoing change, we continue to believe that the future of Hong Kong remains bright,” Zhang said. “We hope we can contribute, in our small way, and participate in the future of Hong Kong.”

For her part, Manning said she had a “big position” in American depository receipts of Alibaba shares listed in the U.S., but added that her plan was to “move the whole position” to Hong Kong over time.

Source: CNBC.com

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