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Yahoo BusinessMay 25, 2020
Hong Kong Finance Has a Security Blanket
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- China's decision to impose a national security law on Hong Kong has spurred speculation of capital flight and an erosion of the city's status as an international financial center. As a venue for share offerings, at least, the near-term future is looking bright. For that, the territory can thank worsening U.S.-China relations.U.S.-listed Chinese technology companies are lining up to sell stock in Hong Kong, seeking refuge from an environment that has become increasingly less hospitable. Nasdaq-traded JD.com Inc. and NetEase Inc. are planning secondary listings in the city next month, following a trail blazed by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. in November. Optimism that more companies will join them drove shares of Hong Kong's exchange operator up more than 6% on Monday.There's every reason to expect these stock offerings to do well, and push Hong Kong back up the rankings of the world's largest fundraising centers. So far this year, the city is the sixth-largest market by capital raised. It topped the table for the whole of 2019 when New York-listed Alibaba sold $13 billion of stock, underscoring the existence of a strong local investor base for China's most successful companies.The reception for Alibaba suggests that Asian institutional investors want to be able to trade China's leading enterprises in their own time zone. JD and NetEase are also among the nation's technology champions. Beijing-based JD competes with Alibaba in e-commerce, while Hangzhou-based NetEase is behind some of the most popular mobile games in China.
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