China’s 2019 IPOs Dwarf EU Offering

China’s 2019 IPOs Dwarf EU Offering

It’s been a banner year for initial public offerings (IPOs) all over the world, and an historic one for the US S&P 500 Index. For European firms, however, the skew of public market success did not appear to tilt in their favour. 

Despite the very public woes of tech unicorns like Uber, Lyft and WeWork, 2019 saw some of the biggest public debuts to date. Here are the ten largest IPOs to hit public markets the world over in 2019: 

Largest Global IPOs of 2019

IPO Deal Size Region
Saudi Aramco $25.6 billion Saudi Arabia
Alibaba $12.9 billion Hong Kong
Uber $8.1 billion U.S.
Budweiser $5.7 billion Hong Kong
Postal Savings Bank of China $4.0 billion Shanghai
Shenzhen Transsion Holdings $4.0 billion Shanghai
Avantor  $3.3 billion U.S.
Lyft $2.6 billion U.S.
XP $2.3 billion U.S.
TeamViewer $2.2 billion Frankfurt


Of the top ten IPOs of 2019, only one launch took place on a European listing. The US market hosted four behemoth deals, while China and Hong Kong markets welcomed a combined four $4 billion-plus IPOs. Saudi Aramco’s long-heralded launch in Saudi Arabia served as the lone, but no less impressive, outlier in the year’s top performers. 

Second on the list is Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, the world’s largest at the time of its debut in November-  no small feat given Hong Kong’s ongoing political crisis and looming recession.

“I applaud Alibaba for taking the step to list in Hong Kong at a time when a lot of people have lost confidence […] in what’s going on in Hong Kong as a market,” Mary Manning, portfolio manager at Ellerston Capital, said at the time of Alibaba’s IPO.

The Postal Savings Bank of China, which runs China’s largest network of retail banking branches, made its second Asian exchange bid with its IPO in Shanghai. While the firm’s 2016 launch on the Hong Kong was likened to a “wet firecracker,” the approval this week of an update to China’s Securities Law is expected to streamline and expand registration of IPOs in the country. PSBC’s mega launch is unlikely to be Shanghai’s last. 

In Europe, meanwhile, German software company TeamViewer won out as the region’s biggest stop market listing in 2019. While a rather remarkable success story on a Frankfurt market dominated by industrial and auto stocks, the absence of other European tech unicorns on this list does not bode well for the EU’s technology sector ambitions

Indeed, the EU is currently home to barely 50 unrealised “unicorns,” with European technology startups fighting to scale in a still-fragmented market with comparatively harder access to capital. This disparity only expected to grow: in the first quarter of 2019 alone, China was home to 21 new unicorns, while the EU had welcomed barely 4 comparable firms by mid-March. 

Incoming European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has made the EU’s loss of technology competitiveness compared to China and the US a policy priority.

Joanna Eva is a London-based analyst and contributor with a range of clients in the risk consulting industry. She specializes in Asian political and economic analysis, having lived and travelled extensively in the region for close to a decade. She holds a Master of Law from the University of New South Wales and received her Bachelor of International Studies from the University of Sydney. She is proficient in English and Mandarin Chinese.

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