SHANGHAI (REUTERS, BLOOMBERG) – Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding said on Tuesday (July 26) that it would apply for a primary listing in Hong Kong, a move that could make its shares accessible by mainland Chinese investors through the city’s exchange links with Shanghai and Shenzhen.

The company expects the listing to be completed by the end of 2022, making it a dual primary listed company in Hong Kong and New York.

In a statement, Alibaba CEO Daniel Zhang said the company would pursue the dual listing to foster a “wider and more diversified investor base.”

“Hong Kong is also the launch pad for Alibaba’s globalsation strategy, and we are fully confident in China’s economy and future,” Mr Zhang said.

Alibaba listed on the New York Stock Exchange in September 2014, marking what was at the time the largest initial public offering (IPO) in history.

It later went on to complete a secondary dual listing in Hong Kong in November 2019.

Since then, the company’s share price has nearly halved, as a sweeping regulatory crackdown by Beijing has battered Chinese tech companies.

Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing chief executive officer Nicolas Aguzin has said more companies with secondary shares in Hong Kong are considering primary listings, while others may be forced to do so by market rules as more of their trading volume migrates to the city.

Alibaba has seen a rise in public float and transaction volume on the Hong Kong exchange, it said on Tuesday. Its average daily trading volume in Hong Kong was about US$700 million (S$970.5 million), compared to about US$3.2 billion in the United States.