Chinese Internet company Alibaba is going through the process of an initial public offering at this very moment.
It’s expected to raise more than $US25 billion — making its IPO the largest in US history. When it begins trading tomorrow on the New York Stock Exchange, Alibaba’s market capitalisation will be somewhere around $US166 billion. It may reach $US200 billion by the end of the day.
5,000 current and former employees are going to make about a billion dollars on the sale. Yahoo, which owns a huge chunk of Alibaba, will make something like $US10 billion. Alibaba CEO Jack Ma will become the richest person in China.
But what is Alibaba? How does it make its money? What does it actually look like in person?
Just about a year ago, I flew from to Alibaba’s home city of Hangzhou and took a tour of the company. What I saw and heard those days answered all those questions.