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Hong Kong launches share index of technology giants

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A new share index focused on China’s technology giants has been launched by Hong Kong’s stock market.

The new index comes as Chinese tech firms face greater scrutiny in the US, with many looking at listings in both Hong Kong and China. The Hang Seng Tech Index that went live on Monday includes internet giants such as Tencent, Alibaba and JD.com.

It will feature 30 of the largest tech firms listed in Hong Kong, which are among the world’s biggest companies.

Analysts say the Hang Seng Tech index will attract investors to other Hong Kong tech stocks and look beyond the more well-known Hang Seng Index which is dominated by banks, property firms and energy companies.

Jack Ma, the billionaire founder of Alibaba, recently announced plans to list its affiliate financial arm Ant Group in Hong Kong.

Alibaba, NetEase and JD.com are three tech giants included in the new Hang Seng Tech Index and have recently been listed in Hong Kong amid growing tensions between the US and China.

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The Ant Group is described as the world’s most valuable unicorn – a start-up that has grown to a value of more than $1bn (£778m).

Once publicly listed, it should also move into the index.

Ant Group, a financial technology (fintech) firm, also wants to list on China’s tech-centric Star stock market as it shuns a US stock market listing.

“The new index aims to rival and beat the Nasdaq in the US market for Chinese tech giants,” said Bruce Pang, head of macro and strategy research for China Renaissance Securities.

The Hang Seng Tech Index will track Hong Kong-listed companies that have high business exposure to selected technology themes, including the internet, fintech, cloud, e-commerce and digital activities.

“The Chinese government wants its technology companies to be able to access foreign capital. Thus, an index in Hong Kong would be better to suit that purpose,” added Tianjun Wu, deputy economist at the Economist Intelligence Unit.

A smile for investors?

Investment experts say it will be more convenient for investors who want to buy Chinese tech companies listed in Hong Kong now they have their own index.

There is a huge appetite for technology stocks like Alibaba and Tencent, which have generally performed well during the coronavirus pandemic as more people go online for shopping and entertainment.

The new index could trigger the launch of specialized investment funds tracking these 30 tech stocks, which are known as Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs).

Felicity Gitonga

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