The Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has filed for an initial public offering in the United States.
The company runs the largest online and mobile commerce site in the world, controlling a huge portion of the Chinese market. Its intent to go public marks the biggest IPO of the Internet age since Twitter went public in November of 2013.
The Wall Street Journal explains:
"Alibaba's size and growth rate are pushing valuation projections into the stratosphere. Published analysts' estimates for how much the entire company could be worth have ranged from $115 billion to $245 billion, or between around No. 50 and No. 15 among public companies globally, based on market value, according to FactSet.
"So far, the estimates of Alibaba's value have been mostly guesswork based on comparable companies. The IPO prospectus provides the first extensive look at Alibaba's finances. Until now, Alibaba has only disclosed some bare-bones financial information via filings of Yahoo Inc., the holder of a 24% stake."
To give you an idea of just how big Alibaba is, check out this graphic included in the prospectus filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission:
Singles Day is a major holiday in China and the company took in $5.8 billion in sales that day. It processed 254 million orders.
According to Bloomberg, Alibaba was founded in the apartment of former English teacher Jack Ma. According to data compiled by the news organization, Alibaba is valued at $168 billion — "bigger than 95 percent of the Standard & Poor's 500 Index — and the most valuable Internet company after Google Inc."
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