The giant Chinese internet marketplace, which occupies a strong position in the domestic shoe market through TMall and other websites, is gearing up for a triumphant listing on the New York Stock Exchange, the largest in its history. The desired price for the shares, which was due to be set before the opening of transactions on to stockmarket tomorrow, was raised once more a few days ago to a range of $66 to $68 because of strong demand. This would value Alibaba Group Holding at up to $168 billion, above the $150 billion capitalization of Amazon.
Obervers indicated in the last few days that Alibaba's shares could even be worth as much as $100, but others are beginning to wonder whether we are facing another internet bubble. In the last few months, Alibaba had already revised twice the pricing that it was trying to attain on the exchange. Its filing with the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission had indicated last June that it was seeking a valuation of $119 billion, but it was revised a few weeks later to $140 billion following a surprising jump in its revenues during the second quarter.
The difference was due in fact to a 46 percent jump in revenues to 15.8 billion yuan renmimbi (€1,985.79m-$2,570.56m) in the second quarter, which led its net income to nearly triple to RMB 12.3 billion (€1,545.91m-$2,001.20m).
The big sales jump was attributed to a tenfold increase in sales made through smartphones and tablets as compared to a year ago. One-third of all sales in terms of value came from orders made through mobile devices, up from 12 percent, with a total of 188 million visits.
Despending on the valuation of its shares, Alibaba could raise up to $22 billion on the NYSE in its current IPO. The company has indicated that it plans to use it to expand in the U.S. and Europe.
Founded in 1999, Alibaba is the world's largest online retailer in terms of the volume of merchandise going through its marketplaces. It controls 50 percent of the Chinese B2C market. Its high valuation will be partly based on the stock market quotation of Baidu, the Chinese version of Google, which is equal to 12 times its annual sales.