Why China’s Biggest E-Commerce Site, Alibaba, Is About to Go Public in the US (and Why You Should Care)

alibaba, ipo, tech, business, stock exchange, billion, facebook, amazon, ebay, yahoo, planit hardware, marketplace, china, jack ma, taobao

All work and no play makes Jack a happy boy, apparently.

On Tuesday, Alibaba filed for a $1 billion IPO in what’s being predicted as the largest tech offering the US stock exchange has ever seen (and yes, that includes Facebook).

We at planIT HARDWARE are frequent users of Alibaba, but perhaps you’re only just hearing about it lately amidst all this buzz. No worries, I’m here to hopefully explain the significance of this event so you’re not left scratching your head while all of your tech/business-savvy friends nerd-out around you.

Think of Alibaba as the eBay of China. Add to this the fact that it is also kind of the Amazon of China. Then add to that the fact that it makes sales figures higher than both of those e-commerce behemoths combined. Alibaba is smart, because it has a corner on just about every aspect of online shopping; like a truly digital mall. The Alibaba Group has so many subsets, it’s hard to keep track, but one thing’s for certain: they’re all wildly lucrative and successful.

Jack Ma is the CEO of the Alibaba Group, and responsible for what some call the first Chinese internet company, China Pages. In a truly ‘90s-thriller-fashion, this entrepreneur came to the US in 1995, was held hostage at gunpoint in an L.A. mansion for two days, saw the Internet and flew back home to start forming companies and dot-coms. Inviting friends and media over, he showed off the power of the Internet over an extremely slow dial-up connection, waiting hours on a single page to load. Now, he has Yahoo as a major investor of his multi-billion dollar company and is ready to take it public in the US at an unprecedented amount.

Listing on the US market has the benefit of offering a larger pool of potential investors in addition to giving a brand/business more credibility and trustworthiness. The offering is expected to hit the market this summer, and don’t be fooled by that $1 billion figure—that’s simply a ‘placeholder’ of sorts that’s intended to balloon well past the $15 billion mark and make history.

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