Chinese internet giant Alibaba files for US offering amid estimates of $160bn value


Chinese internet giant Alibaba filed for an initial public offering in the United States on Tuesday in what could become one of the biggest IPOs ever.

Alibaba said in a regulatory filing it would seek to raise an initial $1 billion but that is just a 'placeholder' amount for registration purposes and analysts estimate the company could have an eventual stock market value of more than $160 billion.

Alibaba did not say whether it would list its shares on the New York Stock Exchange or the Nasdaq and did not make clear how many shares it will initially offer. Yahoo owns a stake in Alibaba of more than 20 per cent.

Analysts speculated that Alibaba would sell a 12 per cent stake in the company for roughly $20 billion.

“We are the largest online and mobile commerce company in the world in terms of gross merchandise volume in 2013, according to industry sources,” said Alibaba in its filing of more than 300 pages.

“We operate Taobao Marketplace, China’s largest online shopping destination, Tmall, China’s largest third-party platform for brands and retailers, in each case in terms of gross merchandise volume, and Juhuasuan, China’s most popular group buying marketplace by its monthly active users, in each case in 2013 according to iResearch,” the filing continued.

“These three marketplaces, which comprise our China retail marketplaces, generated a combined gross merchandise volume of RMB1,542 billion ($248 billion) from 231 million active buyers and 8 million active sellers in the twelve months ended December 31, 2013.”