JD.com blockchain lab will be geared towards solving efficiency, stability, and scalability issues and will also research fundamental consensus protocols, privacy protection and security in decentralized applications. Photo: iStock
JD.com has made a promising debut in Hong Kong. Photo: iStock

Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com leapt 5.75% higher on its Hong Kong debut Thursday, after raising almost US$4 billion in an initial public offering that was the world’s second-biggest this year.

The firm, which listed on the Nasdaq in New York in 2014, opened at HK$239 in early morning trading in Hong Kong, compared with its listing price of HK$226.

The new debut comes as Chinese companies – especially those in tech – eschew Wall Street because of rising tensions between Washington and Beijing.

The crash of once booming coffee chain Luckin Coffee Inc following an accounting scandal has also increased concerns among overseas investors about the transparency and reliability of some Chinese companies. 

New York’s loss has been Hong Kong’s gain, however. 

Fellow Chinese tech giant NetEase raised $2.7 billion in the city earlier this month, capping a frenetic few weeks on the stock exchange despite swirling fears over Beijing’s plan to impose a national security law on the finance hub.

NetEase saw a similar 6% gain on its first day of trading.  

“We have come to Hong Kong not just because we want to share our promise and development with more clients … but because we have absolute confidence in China and the future of China’s economy,” JD’s Retail Chief Executive Officer Xu Lei said at the opening ceremony.

The JD.com IPO is the second-largest global offering this year after Beijing-Shanghai High Speed Railway raised $4.3 billion in January, according to Bloomberg news.

The dual listing will help the company better compete with e-commerce rivals including Amazon and Chinese titan Alibaba, which raised a whopping $12.9 billion in a secondary Hong Kong IPO last year.

While Hong Kong remains an attractive destination for listing, the city is in the midst of a recession and swirling political unrest, with pro-democracy protests raging for much of the past year. 

Beijing has dismissed public anger as a foreign plot and has announced plans to impose an anti-subversion law on Hong Kong, which has some businesses worried that the city may lose the autonomy from the mainland that has propelled its economic rise.

Beijing says the law will stabilize the city and reinforce confidence.