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Alibaba listing secures Hong Kong's financial status, for now

Protests likely to accelerate Beijing's plans for Shanghai and Shenzhen as rival venues

Alibaba CEO Daniel Zhang at the stock listing ceremony in Hong Kong after the Chinese e-commerce giant that he leads raised more than $11 billion in the world's largest share offering this year (photo by Rie Ishii).

HONG KONG -- It was only two weeks ago, as tear gas wafted through the streets of Hong Kong, that Alibaba Group Holding announced it would go ahead with the world's biggest stock placement this year.

For Beijing, the prospect of a multibillion dollar share issue by the Chinese e-commerce giant had huge symbolic importance. Despite six months of increasingly violent anti-government protests and thousands of arrests, it would bolster Hong Kong's status as a global financial center.

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