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Alibaba: Biggest public offering since Facebook


13:20, July 18, 2013

With Alibaba expected to launch what could be the world’s biggest initial public offering since Facebook, CCTV reporter Cathy Yang in Hong Kong tells us about the fortunes Alibaba is bringing home to soccer moms and small businesses alike and hopefully, to shareholders too.

These stainless steel lunchboxes called "LunchBots" are a shining example of the e-commerce revolution taking the world by storm. Former Apple employee Jacqueline Linder took her idea of selling stainless steel food containers from her garage in California - to Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba - and struck gold. With distribution now in place in four continents - Ms Linder says Alibaba has brought her unprecedented opportunities.

Cathy Yang, Hong Kong, said, “Alibaba has moved beyond its original remit of connecting businesses. The e-commerce behemoth is now allowing companies to sell directly to the public through "T-mall", and members of the public to sell to each other, through Taobao."

Together the two portals last year processed a hundred and seventy billion US dollars in sales, more than Amazon and eBay combined, according to Morgan Stanley. That’s helped China’s e-commerce market grow, and it’s set to soon surpass America’s own. Strategists caution it’s not going to be a straight line up for Alibaba.

Mark Konyn, CEO, CCAM, said, "It’s come under criticism for being too dominant so how they address those sort of anti-trust type of issues will be very critical for certainly foreign investors."

Founder and Executive Chairman Jack Ma - who handed over the CEO post in May to trusted insider Jonathan Lu, is betting the next five years will be a "golden" period for e-commerce in China.

He may well steal the global limelight as he pulls off what could be the world’s biggest initial public offering since Facebook.

Alibaba has yet to officially announce its IPO plans, but informed sources say the company has recently ramped up its meetings with investment banks.

Bankers expect the listing to take place in Hong Kong by the end of this year or early 20-14. The issue is expected to value Alibaba by up to a hundred billion dollars, and could raise 15 billion US dollars.

Online entrepreneurs, shoppers and shareholders can only hope, their share of Alibaba’s treasures get bigger - when the company goes public.

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