China’s Ctrip in talks with banks to follow Alibaba with HK listing

Kowloon, Hong Kong. Photo: Shuja/Unsplash

U.S.-listed online travel giant Ctrip is talking to banks about a planned secondary listing in Hong Kong, putting the group at the head of a queue of Chinese companies expected to follow Alibaba in establishing an investor base closer to China.

Ctrip, also known as Trip.com Group Ltd, has approached China International Capital Corp, JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley for its planned share sale in Hong Kong, said four people with knowledge of the matter.

Ctrip, which had declined to comment earlier, late on Friday said: “The specific details of the listing reported are not true. The company does not have plans yet for a secondary listing.”

CICC, JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley declined to comment.

China’s largest online travel firm looks to sell at least 10% of its shares as early as the first half of the year, said two of the people who declined to be named as the information was private.

Based on Ctrip‘s latest market value of $20.6 billion on Nasdaq, that would help it to raise at least $2 billion. But the sources said the deal was still in the early stages and the details were subject to change.

The move comes weeks after the successful $12.9 billion secondary listing of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group in Hong Kong in November, which was the city’s largest deal since 2010 and the world’s biggest ever cross-border secondary listing.

Charles Li, chief executive of bourse operator Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing, said this week at a Reuters BreakingViews event that he was confident more U.S.-listed companies would follow Alibaba.

“I think just by their nature they will come, because their customers know them and they will potentially get a better valuation re-rate if your customer know your business and wants to become your shareholder,” he said, noting too that adding Chinese shareholders could help to balance U.S. investor views.

“A different shareholder base means that you are hedged because the Chinese are going to look at the world very differently from the western investors and as a company you want people to have different views,” he added.

Co-founded in 1999 by Chinese businessman Liang Jianzhang, Ctrip first went public on Nasdaq in 2003, as part of an early wave of Chinese tech companies lured by high valuations overseas, at a time when domestic markets were a fraction of their current size.

Both the HKEX and its mainland Chinese counterparts have been trying to coax such companies to their home markets to give Chinese investors access to these fast-growing businesses that have traditionally opted to list in New York.

Apart from Ctrip, U.S.-listed Chinese tech companies, including NetEase Inc and Baidu Inc, have also had preliminary discussions with the HKEX about the possibility of a secondary listing in the city, said a separate person with direct knowledge of the matter.

Baidu and the HKEX declined to comment. NetEase did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Reuters

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.