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US Investors Eye IPO for China's Alibaba

    2014/9/4
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    From VOA Learning English, this is the Economics Report.

    Investors in the United States are preparing for the first public sale of stock in the Chinese company Alibaba. The company sells goods by linking buyers and sellers in the huge Chinese online market. Alibaba is expected to make its initial public offering, called an IPO, in September on the New York Stock Exchange.

    The total value of the company based in Hangzhou has been estimated at about $200 billion. Reports from Bloomberg News say Alibaba is offering investors a 12 percent share of the company. That would mean the company could raise as much as $20 billion in the public stock sale.


    Employee seen behind glass door of Alibaba’s company headquarters on the outskirts of Hangzhou, China, April 23, 2014.

    After the IPO, Alibaba could become one of the most valuable technology companies in the world. Apple for example, has a market value of about $600 billion, Google is valued at about $390 billion, and Microsoft is worth about $370 billion.

    The e-commerce company is responsible for most online sells in China. It dealt with more exchanges last year than U.S. companies Amazon and e-Bay combined. And it has more than 230 million active buyers.

    Scott Kennedy is director of Indiana University's Research Center for Chinese Politics & Business.

    "Alibaba has grown from a very small company doing e-commerce 15 years ago. Till now, being known as the dominant e-business company in China," Kennedy said.

    Mr. Kennedy says Alibaba has expanded into new areas while growing its share of the e-commerce market.

    "It also involved in banking and other areas. And it has just been growing so dramatically that it now accounts for 80 percent of e-commerce in China," Kennedy said.

    He says the company is profitable which is unusual for a technology company first offering an IPO. Alibaba has chosen to sell its stock to the public on the New York Stock Exchange rather than in China. Scott Kennedy says that selling stock on Chinese Exchanges has ben difficult.

    "Chinese companies have been trying to raise capital on stock markets for a long time [but] within China listing has been difficult and the market has not done very well," Kennedy said.

    He says that the Chinese economy has grown quickly over the years, but has not supported strong stock market activity. The California based Internet company Yahoo owns about one-forth of Alibaba. The IPO in September could increase the value of Yahoo's share. China is now the world's second largest market for e-commerce.

    And that's the Economics Report for VOA Learning English. I'm Mario Ritter.