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Alibaba’s Mega IPO is Coming

Alibaba

Alibaba

Chinese e-commerce behemoth Alibaba Group officially announced plans over the weekend to list its huge initial public offering in New York instead of Hong Kong.

Alibaba’s IPO may be the largest ever by a tech company. Reports indicate Alibaba could raise more than $15 billion, making the offering the largest U.S. IPO of a Chinese company on record.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Alibaba has tapped Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley and Citigroup to assist its IPO.

Alibaba was founded 15 years ago in the modest Hangzhou, China apartment of Jack Ma — a former English teacher who started the company with an initial investment of $60,000 kicked in by 18 friends.

By one estimate, almost four out of every five dollars spent online in China are spent in Alibaba’s marketplaces.

The company’s top two e-commerce sites, Taobao and Tmall, attract more than 100 million unique visitors each day, on par with what Twitter reported before its IPO. Unlike Amazon, the company does not sell directly to consumers. Instead, it allows users to search the merchandise offered by sellers in thousands of digital stores.

Yahoo has a 24% stake in Alibaba, and its financial reports offer a peak at the company’s earnings. Alibaba’s sales rose 66% in the fourth quarter of 2013 versus the year prior, while earnings surged 110% to $1.4 billion. In the most recent quarter, Facebook reported income of $523 million and Amazon earned $177 million. Twitter has yet to post a profit.

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