Alibaba stock has been battered in 2021.
Greg Baker/AFP via Getty Images
stock hit a record low in Hong Kong Thursday amid fears that the Chinese e-commerce giant may be forced to lose its primary listing in New York.
Reports suggested that Chinese regulators will restrict companies’ abilities to list overseas, raising the prospect that Alibaba and other groups may be forced to ditch their listings on the New York Stock Exchange or Nasdaq.
‘s Hong Kong-listed shares (ticker: 9988.H.K.) dropped 2.5% Thursday to their lowest level since the company launched its secondary listing in Asia in 2019. The company’s U.S. stock (BABA) rose 0.2% in the premarket trade, having fallen near 4% Wednesday.
The latest development on the regulatory front concerns variable interest entities (VIEs)—a corporate structure used by Alibaba and other Chinese companies to list offshore and sidestep Beijing’s rules concerning foreign investment.
Must read: Beijing Could Add Pressure to U.S.-Listed Chinese Stocks. What It Means for Investors.
China is planning to ban companies from going public overseas using the VIE structure, Bloomberg reported Wednesday, citing anonymous sources, though Hong Kong would be an exception subject to regulatory approval.
The plans could be finalized as soon as this month, according to the report, and may require companies already listed overseas via VIEs to revamp ownership structures and be more transparent. This could mean that the most sensitive companies—for instance, Alibaba—may be required to delist in the U.S.
China’s securities regulator has denied Bloomberg‘s report.
VIEs are also under scrutiny from U.S. regulators. Gary Gensler, the chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission, has warned that U.S. investors may not…