China’s e-commerce behemoth, Alibaba Group, is playing its cards close to its chest in terms of a potential IPO. But rumors today suggest that Alibaba – which runs market-leading online malls such as Tmall, Taobao, and Alibaba.com – has actually pencilled in mid-2013 for beginning its IPO roadshow, with a public listing coming by the end of 2013 or in early 2014.
QQ Tech and a number of other Chinese tech and finance blogs claim that the rumor stems from within Alibaba, and that it’s a sign that the vast company is a lot more focused on raising funds than it likes to appear.
Alibaba runs the country’s top B2C e-commerce, B2B, C2C, and daily deals sites, making it like some huge combination of Amazon, eBay, and Groupon, and more. It even has its own mobile OS platform, Aliyun, which was under attack from Google a few months ago.
What’s the firm worth when it lists? Its recent buyback of a 20 percent stake from Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) and the subsequent financing revealed Alibaba Group as a whole to be worth $40 billion, making it bigger than China’s top search engine, Baidu. Forbes’ Eric Jackson reckons that Alibaba’s dominance and growth could be enough to make it worth over $150 billion by 2016.
Alibaba’s two largest consumer-oriented online malls, Taobao and Tmall, recently hit RMB 1 trillion (US$159.5 billion) in sales for the whole of 2012 up to the end of November.
[Source: QQ Tech - article in Chinese]