Business / Technology

Companies bask in 'Alibaba effect'

(Bloomberg) Updated: 2014-09-17 08:01

Domestic investors are snapping up shares of businesses even remotely connected to the e-commerce giant, reports Bloomberg.

Chinese investors, left out of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd's US initial public offering, are piling into the next best thing.

The seven mainland-traded companies that either sold stakes to Alibaba or have partnerships with the e-commerce business have rallied 15 percent on average over the past month through Monday, beating the Shanghai Composite Index by 10 percentage points, data compiled by Bloomberg and GF Securities Co show.

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Financial software developer Hundsun Technologies Inc has climbed 24 percent, while China Shipping Container Lines Co, whose parent works with Alibaba on cross-border logistics, rose 19 percent.

The gains reflect increasing confidence that Alibaba's IPO, which would be one of the biggest in history at an estimated $21.8 billion, will brighten prospects for business partners as the Hangzhou-based company founded by Jack Ma gets more capital to fund growth. They also show how Chinese investors are finding new ways to gain exposure to the nation's booming e-commerce industry after its biggest companies chose to list on foreign bourses inaccessible to most mainland investors.

"It's the networking effect," said Hao Hong, a Hong Kong-based strategist at BOCOM International Holdings Co. "If Alibaba does well, the benefits will flow through."

The strategy is similar to one adopted by Bank of America Corp, which is giving clients a chance to bet on Alibaba's performance through a product that uses the company's largest shareholder, SoftBank Corp, as a basis for approximating its valuation.

An index that BofA created to represent the synthetic Alibaba trade, which uses short positions to negate the impact of SoftBank's other main businesses, has tripled since early March, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Demand for the IPO has been so strong that Alibaba on Monday boosted the price it is offering the shares for to between $66 and $68 apiece, according to a regulatory filing, compared with an initial range of $60 to $66 each. The company and its backers including Yahoo Inc plan to sell 320.1 million shares.

Alibaba's IPO could top Agricultural Bank of China Ltd's more than $22 billion sale in 2010 as the world's biggest. The size may increase further if Alibaba prices its shares above the range, which it can do without additional regulatory filings, or allows underwriters to sell more shares to help meet excess demand.

A market-capitalization weighted index of seven Alibaba-linked companies with mainland listings on Monday climbed to the highest level since May 2008.

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