Alibaba shares continue to fall on US delisting fears

(FILES) An Alibaba sign outside the company’s Beijing office on April 13, 2021. (Photo by GREG BAKER / AFP)

HONG KONG, China (AFP) — Shares of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba tumbled in Hong Kong on Monday after U.S. authorities placed it on a watch list that could see it delisted in New York if it fails to comply with disclosure orders. information.

The market heavyweight fell more than five percent in early trading, dropping it to its lowest level since May and dragging the Hang Seng Tech index with it.

On Friday, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Service said it had added the Chinese firm to a list of more than 250 other companies that could be removed from Wall Street, where it was listed in 2014, if strict audit requirements are not met within a three years in a row.

The announcement comes as tensions between Washington and Beijing are declining over a range of issues including technology, human rights and Taiwan.

It also follows last week’s report that founder Jack Ma plans to relinquish control of Ant Group as part of a strategy to appease Chinese regulators and revive the digital payments division’s initial public offering.

The firm has come under intense pressure from Chinese authorities’ crackdown on the tech sector for more than a year, causing its share price to drop by about 70 percent from its all-time high at the end of 2020.

In April 2021, she was hit with a record $2.75 billion fine for anti-competitive practices.

Earlier this year, Alibaba removed all Ant-related executives from the Alibaba Partnership, a group that can appoint a majority of Alibaba’s board members.

Reports of Ma’s decision canceled out Alibaba’s gains made earlier this week when the firm announced it would seek an initial listing in Hong Kong to improve access to a fast pool of Chinese investors.

Sales – down more than 10 percent in New York – were worsened by worries about Alibaba’s upcoming earnings report, which many fear will show the first-ever drop in quarterly revenue.

© Agence France-Presse