More reports on: E-business, Retail

Alibaba zooms on trading debut

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20 September 2014

Alibaba founder Jack MaAlibaba soared on its first day of trading, helping CEO Jack Ma, who started the e-commerce company in his apartment in 1999, adding $5 billion to his net worth, Bloomberg reported.

With the blockbuster debut Ma's hugely profitable, fast-growing company made history with the largest ever initial public offering on the US stock market.

The floatation raised a staggering $21.8 billion for Alibaba and gave the company a market value of $231.4 billion, leaving Facebook and Amazon.com in the dust.

The debut saw the company catapulted to the ranks of the 20 biggest companies by market capitalisation in the US.

Earlier Ma was the richest man in China but after the markets closed he had become one of the richest in the world.

His net worth now stands at over $18 billion. He owned 206.1 million shares of which he sold  12.75 million in the IPO.

Ma was quick to see the potential for the Chinese internet in 1999 when only a few people in China had access to it.

Ma's dream started taking shape in his small apartment in the eastern city of Hangzhou in 1999; only 15 years down the line Alibaba oversees a vast empire of online retail marketplaces and other internet businesses, CNBC reported.

Alibaba debuted as a publicly traded company yesterday and shot nearly 40 per cent in a mammoth IPO that offered eager investors massive growth potential and a way to tap into the growing Chinese middle class, AP reported.

The sharp demand for shares saw the market  value of the e-commerce giant soar well beyond that of Amazon, eBay and even Facebook. The initial public offering was on track to be the world's largest, potentially worth $25 billion.

A jubilant Ma stood on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange as eight Alibaba customers, including a US cherry farmer and a Chinese Olympian, rang the opening bell.

"We want to be bigger than Wal-Mart," Ma told CNBC. "We hope in 15 years, people say this is a company like Microsoft, IBM, Wal-Mart. They changed, shaped the world."

The company's business model is different from that of most e-commerce rivals because it does not sell anything directly, rather it connects individuals and small businesses. The company shot to new highs in US popularity over the past two weeks as executives made sales pitches based on Alibaba's strong revenue and big ambitions.





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