JD.com's public offering in Hong Kong was 179 times oversubscribed as retail investors rushed to join the latest "homecoming" of a Chinese tech giant, according to people familiar with the matter.
It is the third high-profile secondary listing by a Chinese new economy company in the past eight months, following a US$12.9 billion listing by e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding in November and a US$2.7 billion listing this week by NetEase, the world's second-largest mobile games publisher. Alibaba is the parent company of the South China Morning Post.
The institutional tranche was also multiple times oversubscribed across over 400 accounts, said the people, who declined to be named because the matter was not yet public. The top five investors accounted for about 40 per cent of the institutional tranche, the people said.
The oversubscription of the Hong Kong retail tranche triggered the highest level of a clawback mechanism that increased the size of the local offering to 12 per cent of the overall global offer.
The final pricing came as sentiment soured dramatically on Wall Street on Thursday.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 6.9 per cent and the S&P 500 Index dropped 5.9 per cent as investors reacted negatively to a spike in coronavirus infections in parts of the United States that were among the first to reopen their economies. It was the worst single-day performance by the Dow since March.
The benchmark Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong declined 1 per cent in midmorning trading on Friday, mirroring concerns about the surge in virus cases and a potentially longer period of recovery. US Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell said on Thursday the central bank would likely keep interest rates at zero through 2022 and the US could face a "long road" to full recovery.
On Thursday, Beijing-headquartered JD.com priced its secondary listing in Hong Kong at HK$226 a share (US$29.16) after investors clamoured to participate in the offer. The Hong Kong share sale priced at a tight 3.9 per cent discount to JD.com's Nasdaq-traded shares' close at US$60.70 a share on Wednesday, the people said.
Shares of JD.com are due to start trading in Hong Kong on June 18 and will be fully fungible with American depositary receipts (ADR) at a ratio of one ADS to two ordinary shares, according to a deal terms sheet.
One of China's largest e-commerce sites, JD.com will raise about US$3.88 billion from the share sale, in what is poised to be the largest fundraising so far this year in the city, according to people familiar with the deal. If an overallotment option is fully exercised, then the size of the share sale could rise to US$4.46 billion.
NetEase separately made its debut in Hong Kong on Thursday after raising US$2.7 billion this week. The company's shares surged 6 per cent on their first day of trading, but declined 1.3 per cent to HK$128.30 in midmorning trading on Friday.
The "homecoming", as some analysts have dubbed recent moves by Chinese firms listed in the US to pursue secondary offerings closer to home in Hong Kong, comes amid rising US-China tensions.
US politicians are dialling-up their demands to fence off Wall Street from Chinese companies as Washington and Beijing trade barbs over everything from the coronavirus pandemic to Hong Kong.
The US Senate unanimously approved a bill requiring public audits of ADR listings by Chinese firms and stock analysts believe Sino-US financial links will fray further ahead of the 2020 US presidential election. To widen their funding options, some Chinese ADR companies are pursuing secondary listings in Hong Kong.
More than 200 Chinese companies trade on US stock exchanges worth over US$1.2 trillion, Bloomberg data showed, of which 26 would potentially qualify for secondary listings in Hong Kong this year, according to China Renaissance.
The overwhelming demand for JD.com's and Netease's shares underscores investors' belief that Big Tech is emerging from the coronavirus pandemic relatively unscathed.
JD.com said last month that it had expanded its logistics network to support growth in online consumption as more traditional bricks-and-mortar merchants move online.
JD.com's Hong Kong debut coincides with China's annual midyear 618 online shopping festival. This year's event will be the first major shopping event since the end of lockdowns in China after the containment of Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.
Companies around the world have started to return to the capital markets in recent weeks, despite a global recession sparked by the coronavirus pandemic.
JD.com's fundraising would be the second-largest globally after Beijing-Shanghai High Speed Railway netted US$4.4 billion during its initial public offering (IPO) back in January, according to data from Refinitiv.
JD.com, founded by Richard Liu Qiangdong, launched its share sale on June 5 and was already oversubscribed by Monday. The offer was closed to new orders by Wednesday, the people said. International and Chinese long-only investors piled into the share sale and allocations are being decided on Thursday, the people said.
The bookrunners on JD.com's share sale include Bank of America, UBS and CLSA.
Richard Liu, founder and CEO of JD.com, celebrates the company's listing on Nasdaq, in May 2014. Photo: AP Photo alt=Richard Liu, founder and CEO of JD.com, celebrates the company's listing on Nasdaq, in May 2014. Photo: AP Photo
The listings of JD.com and NetEase also add up to a vote of confidence in Hong Kong as a financial hub after months of anti-government protests and the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, as well as concerns over a new national security law for the city proposed by Beijing.
To compete with other financial hubs, the Hong Kong stock exchange changed its rules in April 2018 to make it easier for companies with dual classes of shares " a structure favoured by technology companies such as Facebook and Google " to seek IPOs as well as secondary listings in the city. The bourse is considering further rule changes to allow more companies with so-called weighted voting rights to more easily list in the city.
The shake-up came after the Hong Kong stock exchange lost out to New York in a bid to host Alibaba's US$25 billion IPO in 2014.
China Renaissance estimates that new economy stocks could account for 30 per cent to 35 per cent of Hong Kong's market capitalisation in the next five to 10 years, up from 26 per cent, leading to higher growth potential, raised valuations, and increasing turnover and sector diversity.
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