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China’s internet giant Alibaba files for IPO

Published time: May 06, 2014 23:04
Reuters / Carlos Barria

Reuters / Carlos Barria

China's e-commerce giant Alibaba has filed for an Initial Public Offering in the United States, in what is predicted to become the biggest IPO in internet history, surpassing previous record holder Facebook’s $16 billion.

The e-market place didn’t provide the details of how many shares it will offer in its IPO or the share valuation. Financial details are expected to emerge closer to the IPO date. The process is estimated to take up to four months before Alibaba's shares could be traded on the New York Stock Exchange or Nasdaq Stock Market. The initial filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission is for $1 billion, needed to calculate registration fees.

Sources familiar with the matter told Bloomberg that the company is looking to sell about a 12 percent stake, which would make the IPO of over $20 billion based on the estimated value of the company, topping a 2012 Facebook’s $16 billion trade debut, the biggest in the internet world thus far.

Alibaba’s market value is estimated to be worth some $168 billion, bigger than 95 percent of Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, making it the most valuable Internet enterprise after Google, according to Bloomberg data.

Reuters / Steven Shi

Alibaba.com was founded in 1999 by Jack Ma as a business-to-business portal to offer Chinese manufacturers access to overseas buyers. Its consumer-to-consumer portal Taobao, offers a service similar to eBay.

World's biggest IPOs in history:

$22.1 bn of Agricultural Bank of China in 2010

$21.9 bn of Industrial and Commercial Bank of China in 2006

$20.5 bn of AIA Group in 2010

$19.6 bn of Visa Inc. in 2008

$18.4 bn of NTT DoCoMo, a Japanese mobile operator, in 1998

$18.1 bn return of General Motors in 2010

$17.4 bn of Enel in 1999

$16 bn of Facebook, the largest tech sector IPO in 2012

$13.6 bn of NTT in 1986

$13 bn of Deutsche Telekom in 1996

Together Alibaba Group's sites account for over 60 percent of the packages delivered in China. In addition Alipay, an online payment system similar to PayPal is responsible for almost half of all online payment transaction within China.

In 2013, Alibaba’s services reached some $248 billion in sales, more than eBay and Amazon combined. More than 20 percent of the purchases were made through mobile apps. Furthermore, the Economist notes that by 2020 China’s e-commerce market will become bigger than the markets in US, UK, Japan, Germany and France combined.

Alibaba has also recently showed desire to expand into other niches of the internet industry. The Chinese giant bought digital mapping service AutoNavi Holdings Ltd. for $1.5 billion as well as a $1.2 billion deal to acquire a 16.5 percent stake in Youku Tudou, an internet television company. Alibaba is also trying to expand into the mobile messaging market and has invested $215 million in Tango, an international start-up headquartered in Silicon Valley that made a free mobile messaging app.