JD Health International CEO Xin Lijun uses a mobile phone during the companyís initial public offering (IPO) ceremony at the JD headquarters in Beijing on Tuesday. Photo: AFP / Noel Celis

The medical arm of Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com soared 34% in the first few minutes of its debut on the Hong Kong stock market Tuesday morning after raising HK$27 billion ($3.5 billion) in an initial public offering.

JD Health’s share price hit HK$94.50, well above its listing price of HK$70.58.

JD Health International’s share sale, the biggest IPO in the financial hub this year, comes after its parent raised around $4 billion in the city and on the back of a rise in demand for its services during the pandemic.

That share price values the company, China’s biggest online healthcare platform and retail pharmacy, at as much as $28.5 billion.

Hong Kong has seen a spate of IPOs in 2020, delivering a shot in the arm for the city after a turbulent couple of years that have been blighted by sometimes-violent democracy protests, the coronavirus and fallout from China’s new national security law.

JD.com’s sale in June came around the same time as another tech firm, NetEase, raised $2.7 billion and followed Beijing-Shanghai High Speed Railway’s $4.3-billion listing in January.

However, the share market was dealt a blow earlier this month when Ant Group, the financial arm of JD rival Alibaba, was forced to pull its world-record $35 billion listing under pressure from Chinese authorities.

But Tuesday’s debut performance by JD Health showed the city remains an attractive location for listings.

JD Health’s total revenue rose to 8.8 billion yuan ($1.34 billion) in the first half of 2020 from 5 billion yuan in the same period last year, it said in its prospectus.

Chinese tech companies are increasingly looking to move into digital healthcare after months of lockdowns caused by the coronavirus pandemic, which emerged in central China late last year.