Baidu debuts in Hong Kong after USD3.1B IPO

HONG KONG (AFP) – Chinese search engine Baidu debuted on Hong Kong’s stock exchange yesterday after raising USD3.1 billion in its initial public offering (IPO), the latest mainland tech giant to flock to the financial hub.

Shares rose a modest 0.8 per cent to HKD254 from their listing price of HKD252 after the market opened.

Over the past 18 months, Hong Kong has seen a flurry of Chinese tech firms hold IPOs in the city, part of a drive to list closer to home as relations between Beijing and Washington sour.

Until the recent trade tensions, New York tended to be the favoured place for those companies to raise international capital.

But now Hong Kong is dominant, something Beijing’s leaders have encouraged at a time when it is also looking to rein in the influence of some Chinese tech firms like Alibaba.

Last year Hong Kong raked in an impressive USD49 billion in IPOs.

Some of the debuts in Hong Kong are dual listings such as Baidu, which is already traded on the Nasdaq in New York.

Others are purely Hong Kong listings such as the medical arm of Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com which raised USD3.5 billion in its December homecoming.

More are on the way.

Chinese companies looking at selling shares in the city include Tencent’s music group and video site Bilibili.