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Alibaba shares currently trade at around 78 HKD per share in Hong Kong.

Alibaba American Depository Receipts on Nasdaq trade at around 78 USD per share.

1 USD currently converts to 7.8 HKD.

78 USD per share in the US therefore should be 608.4 HKD per share in Hong Kong, yet that is not the case here.

Did Alibaba purposefully make the shares numerically identical in Hong Kong and the US? Is that legal? How is it possible? And what would be the point?

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The ADR share represents 8 shares of the original share, which is (by chance) currently around the HKD/USD conversion rate, so their numbers look similar.

As of now, one Alibaba share is worth 77.25 HKD, so 8 shares would be 618 HKD. The ADR is at $78.96, which is a conversion rate of 7.83 HKD/USD, in line with your numbers. (Both exchanges are closed right now, so the small discrepancy can be attributed to delays.)

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