Taiping Insurance Soars After China Tech Moguls Said to Invest

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Alibaba Founder Jack Ma
Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. founder Jack Ma is the second-richest person in China with a $34.7 billion fortune, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Photographer: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg

China Taiping Insurance Holdings Co. jumped the most in more than six years after people with knowledge of the matter said China’s two richest technology moguls joined its $1.7 billion share sale.

Taiping advanced 16 percent to HK$32.80 at 11:02 a.m. in Hong Kong, the most since October 2008. Funds backed by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. founder Jack Ma and Tencent Holdings Ltd. chairman Ma Huateng are buying shares in the insurer’s private placement, the people said Thursday, asking not to be identified as the information is private.

The insurer follows rivals New China Life Insurance Co. and PICC Property & Casualty Co. in selling stock to take advantage of a rally that has driven Hong Kong’s benchmark index to a seven-year high. Alibaba’s Ma also bought shares in Ping An Insurance Group Co.’s $4.75 billion private placement in December, people with knowledge of the matter said at the time.

Taiping planned to sell 486 million shares at HK$27.74 apiece, a 5 percent discount to its Wednesday closing price, according to a Hong Kong exchange filing Thursday. HSBC Holdings Plc, Citigroup Inc., UBS Group AG, CCB International Capital Ltd., China International Capital Corp. and CMB International Capital Ltd. arranged the Taiping sale, the filing shows.

Alibaba’s Ma is the second-richest person in China with a $35.7 billion fortune, while the Tencent chairman has a $19.3 billion net worth, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

A Hong Kong-based spokeswoman for Taiping said she couldn’t immediately comment. Alibaba spokeswoman Melanie Lee declined to comment while Canny Lo, a spokeswoman for Tencent, didn’t respond to two phone calls and an e-mail seeking comment.

— With assistance by Fox Hu, Regina Tan, and Dingmin Zhang

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