Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce giant, will commence the roadshow for its initial public offering on Sept. 3 with an eye toward a Sept. 16 listing on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker “BABA.”
And with that date drawing closer, it is worth noting that yet another exchange traded that, on the surface, would appear to be a logical destination for Alibaba actually will not make room for the stock. The latest ETF that can be scratched from an already small list of funds that are likely to hold Alibaba is the Global X China Consumer ETF (NYSEArca: CHIQ).
As an e-commerce company, Alibaba appears to be a logical addition to CHIQ. After all, CHIQ, which has nearly $150 million in assets under management, is a consumer fund. The reason behind Alibaba’s likely exclusion from CHIQ differs from some of the other previously cited reasons for why the stock will not find its way into a broad swath of well-known emerging markets and China-specific ETFs.
For example, MSCI (NYSE: MSCI) previously noted Alibaba’s decision to incorporate in the Cayman Islands will prevent the stock from landing in MSCI indices.
“MSCI has analyzed the country classification of Alibaba Group Holding. Based on current information, the company will be incorporated in Cayman Islands, it will file 20-F only and it will list in the US only, through American Depositary Shares (ADS). Consequently, based on the above and as per the Appendix III of the MSCI GIMI Methodology Book, the company is not eligible for inclusion in the MSCI Global Investable Market Indexes (GIMI),” according to the index provider. [No MSCI ETFs for Alibaba]
That is not an issue for Solactive, the provider by CHIQ’s underlying index. In fact, nearly 42% of the companies in the Solactive China Consumer Index are based in the Caymans, according to Solactive data.
At issue with regards to CHIQ is Alibaba’s sector classification. While Alibaba has drawn numerous comparisons to Amazon (NasdaqGS: AMZN), which is classified as a consumer discretionary stock, Solactive believes Alibaba is more eBay (NasdaqGS: EBAY) than Amazon. That means Alibaba is likely to be classified as a tech stock, barring it from inclusion in CHIQ and the Solactive China Consumer Index.
To its credit, Solactive is blunt in noting the aforementioned index is a consumer-focused benchmark, saying “the Solactive China Consumer Index tracks the price movements in shares of Chinese companies or companies focused on China whose main business operations are in the consumer sector.”