Weibo slips in Hong Kong debut

US-China regulatory tensions prompt rise in Hong Kong listings

Weibo saw its stock sink on Wednesday, its first day of Hong Kong trading. While the territory’s Hang Seng index closed essentially flat at 23,996.87, the Chinese social media giant closed down by 7.18% at $HK253.20.

Eleven million shares were sold, each with a price of $HK272.80. In total, Weibo raised $345m (£260m). 

This is the latest in a slew of secondary listings undertaken by US-listed Chinese technology firms. 

Although relations between Washington and Beijing are not as openly antagonistic as during the Trump administration’s trade war, increases in regulatory scrutiny on both sides of the Pacific have rocked investor sentiment. 

Didi

In June, the Chinese ride-hailing firm Didi went public on the New York Stock Exchange, raising $4.4bn. 

Shortly afterward, regulators in China ordered Chinese app stores to remove 25 mobile applications owned and operated by the company, citing data collection concerns.

In August, the US Securities and Exchange Commission temporarily halted all US initial public offerings of Chinese companies. 

The SEC recently announced its intention to introduce new regulations forcing US-listed Chinese firms to disclose whether they are controlled or owned by any Chinese government entity. 

In light of this tightening, last week Didi stated it will delist from New York and relist on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. 

Although Weibo has not yet announced its intention to delist from the US, the Hong Kong listing is widely thought to be an attempt to navigate this increasingly volatile regulatory landscape. 

By 11:15 EDT (UTC-5) in New York, Weibo traded down 1.6% at $32.94, 19% below its 2021 starting level.

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