(Image credit: Alibaba Group)

E-commerce giant Alibaba has filed confidentially for a Hong Kong listing and could go public in the city as soon as the third quarter of this year, Reuters and Bloomberg report.

Sources cited by both outlets expect the company to raise as much as $20 billion. According to Bloomberg, China International Capital Corp. and Credit Suisse Group AG will serve as lead banks. The listing could be the biggest Hong Kong has seen since 2010.

Alibaba said it doesn’t comment on market rumors when reached by TechNode.

The move could mark a Hong Kong comeback for Alibaba after it delisted in 2012. The company’s business-to-business entity went public on the main board of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in 2007.

When Alibaba was considering a relisting in 2013, Hong Kong was speculated to be a prime destination for the tech giant. However, the company snubbed the former British colony in favor of a record $25 billion float on the New York Stock Exchange in 2014, primarily because of the absence a dual-class share structure in Hong Kong.

Missing out on Alibaba was considered a big loss to the Hong Kong market, not only because of the sheer size of the company but also because it would have made the city a more attractive destination for tech companies that might follow.

The Hong Kong Stock Exchange since shifted to a dual-class share mechanism in April 2018, allowing tech firms to have share classes with different voting rights.

Since the change, the city has increasingly become a destination for tech IPOs and has seen the listings of tech giants including super lifestyle platform Meituan and smartphone maker Xiaomi.

During a 2018 interview with Bloomberg, Alibaba founder Jack Ma said the company would consider floating some of its business units in Hong Kong.

Emma Lee (Li Xin) was TechNode's e-commerce and new retail reporter until June 2022, when she moved to Sixth Tone to cover technology and consumption. Get in touch with her via lixin@sixthtone.com or Twitter.

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