Alibaba to pioneer paperless listing in break with HK norm

HONG KONG: Alibaba’s planned $13.4 billion share sale will be Hong Kong’s first paperless stock market listing, a source with knowledge of the matter said, breaking with a long-held tradition of investors placing stock orders in bank branches.
Companies carrying out initial public offerings in Hong Kong have traditionally placed prospectuses in banks, which would often stay open late or over the weekend, and investors would fill out paper forms to place their stock orders.
The decision by Alibaba to fully automate the retail subscription component of its deal comes as Hong Kong is gripped by violent civil unrest which has shut shops in the financial district and on Thursday led the government to close schools.
Alibaba does not plan to print a paper copy of its 661-page prospectus, which it lodged with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on Wednesday, said the source, who was not authorised to speak to the media and so declined to be named.
Investment bankers familiar with the Alibaba listing said the logistics of having investors queuing in or outside banks while protests unfolded nearby would have been difficult.
Alibaba is not expected to carry out a advertising campaign for the listing, but will tell potential retail shareholders, particularly the elderly, that the automation process will not lock them out of participating.
An Alibaba spokeswoman declined to comment.
— Reuters