Tread with Caution


Alibaba, the biggest IPO to ever hit Wall Street, made a huge splash when it started trading last Friday. Valued at more than $200 billion, the scale of the Chinese e-commerce company is hard to comprehend. On a single day last year, one-third of all adults in China used Alibaba’s sites, spending more than $5 billion on more than 100 million shipments. Alibaba owns and operates successful sites like Taobao and Tmall in China. In 2013, roughly $248 billion of merchandise exchanged hands on Alibaba’s platforms. That number trumps the combined merchandize volumes of Amazon, Ebay and the popular Japanese site Rakuten.

The IPO surpassed the previous global record set by Agricultural Bank of China Ltd in 2010 when the bank raised $22.1 billion. It has made Jack Ma, the 50-year-old founder, China’s richest; he owns $21.9bn in assets.

Alibaba has joined the elite group of technology companies that trade on the stock market and are sought after by investors.

source: factset

But it should also be noted that Alibaba quietly moved out of the Hong Kong stock exchange in 2012 as a private company, less than five years after its frenzied, high-profile initial public offering in Hong Kong. On its first day of trading in November 6, 2007,’s shares opened at HK$30, more than double the HK$13.50 issue price. But by the end of 2012, the share price had dropped below the offer price owing to the company’s dropping revenue amidst global uncertainties.

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