In the biggest float of an internet company since Facebook in 2012 giant Chinese online retailer Alibaba is hoping to raise 11.4 billion euros or more, which would trump Facebook’s record.
By choosing New York to go public the company ends months of speculation, and dashes the hopes of Hong Kong, the previous favourite.
But Alibaba’s open sesame to profits is doubted by some.
“Alibaba’s biggest challenge is that it isn’t leading mobile e-commerce. The companies it works with, including the likes of LINE, haven’t really brought it a breakthrough. So they need to find a good solution to this problem,” said Zhang Chenhao, executive director at e-commerce-focused investment advisory firm Gold Sand Capital.
Alibaba was founded in 1999, and today may be worth north of 100 billion euros. Its two biggest shareholders are Japan’s Softbank, with 3 percent, and Yahoo, with 24 percent.
Analysts say China’s online retail market could be worth over 215 billion euros annually by 2017, and Alibaba controls around 80 percent of China’s electronic commerce, which has one of the world’s most active pools of mobile web users.