Oversubscribed prices its IPO at $19 a share

Big demand for Chinese tech IPOs
Big demand for Chinese tech IPOs

[Update: On Wednesday night, priced its initial shares at $19 each, above analysts' forecast, underwriters said. The company will trade shares on the Nasdaq under the ticker JD. The IPO raised $1.78 billion from the sale of 93.7 million American Depositary Shares.]

The initial public offering of Chinese e-commerce company is about 15 times oversubscribed, according to people familiar with the matter.

JD had planned to raise up to $1.7 billion and by pricing the shares in a range of $16 to $18, according to a prospectus. They will begin trading on the Nasdaq on Thursday. A spokesman for the company declined to comment.

The strong demand for JD comes after many new issues have stumbled in recent weeks amid a selloff in companies across the technology sector. JD is also closely watched because its IPO comes ahead of Alibaba, which filed its prospectus last week and is expected to begin trading in New York this summer.

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Brent Lewin | Bloomberg | Getty Images

While Alibaba looks much like the eBay of China, JD more closely resembles Amazon. JD also has a small but growing online marketplace that matches buyers and sellers, similar to Alibaba's main operations.

According to Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., Alibaba's marketplace division had over $250 billion in gross merchandise value in 2013. JD, meanwhile, says it had $5.3 billion in gross merchandise value from its online marketplace division.

JD's sales rose 68 percent in 2013, thanks mostly to an increase in revenue from its online direct sales division. The company posted an operating loss of $96 million in 2013 on revenues of $11.5 billion. It also incurred losses in the previous two years. Alibaba, in contrast, tends to generate operating margins north of 50 percent.

BofA Merrill Lynch is the lead underwriter on the deal,which has a total of nine other advisors, including UBS.

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—Reuters contributed to this report.