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Report: Alibaba could have China listing by mid-2018 through depositary receipts

Chinese online retailer Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. could have its China listing as soon as the middle of this year using China depositary receipts, the IFR unit of Reuters reported March 23, citing a person with knowledge of the matter.

The company has been reportedly seeking a secondary exchange listing in the mainland as early as the summer.

According to the report, these China depositary receipts, or CDRs, would be similar to American depositary receipts and would allow investors to hold shares listed outside of China since the country's securities rules bar companies based abroad from a direct listing. Alibaba is incorporated in the Cayman Islands.

Alibaba also has a listing on the New York Stock Exchange after its IPO in September 2014. It has stated that it was reportedly open to a Chinese listing since 2014 if it was compliant with Chinese regulation.

China has reportedly been exploring options to lure overseas-listed tech companies such as Alibaba, which has approximately $473 billion in market capitalization, back to the country to give Chinese investors more access to these internationally based Chinese firms, according to the report. In an earlier report by the news agency, sources said China's securities regulator could finalize the CDR guidelines by the second half of 2018.

The source told Reuters that the fundraising size for the mainland listing has not been determined but could be more than $1.58 billion.

The CDRs could potentially help other Chinese tech companies, including Inc. and Tencent Holdings Ltd., to open their doors to Chinese investors, the report said.

Alibaba reportedly did not immediately respond to a request for comment by Reuters.