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Alibaba postpones HK listing amid protests: sources

Hong Kong

CHINA'S biggest e-commerce company Alibaba Group has delayed its up to US$15 billion listing in Hong Kong amid growing political unrest in the Asian financial hub.

Alibaba held a board meeting before its latest quarterly earnings release last week, during which the board decided to postpone the Hong Kong listing which was set to take place in late August.

This is according to two people with knowledge of the matter who spoke to Reuters. Both sources declined to be identified as they were not authorised to speak to the media.

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The decision was made on the lack of financial and political stability in Hong Kong amid more than 11 weeks of demonstrations which have become increasingly violent and plunged the city into turmoil.

Tear gas has been used frequently by police while more than 700 people have been arrested, followed by an unprecedented airport shutdown last week. Hong Kong's stock market also fell to seven-month lows last week.

While no new timetable has been formally set, Alibaba could launch the Hong Kong deal as early as in October, seeking to raise US$10 billion to US$15 billion, when political tensions ease and market conditions become favourable again, said one of the sources.

"It would be very unwise to launch the deal now or anytime soon. It would certainly annoy Beijing by offering Hong Kong such a big gift given what is going on in the city," said the source.

Alibaba declined to comment on the deal. REUTERS