Alibaba: The Biggest Dot Com You've Never Heard of
November 8, 2007 7:39 AM
Alibaba is cooked up a bit of magic with its stock debut.
Asian internet firm Alibaba has been gaining significant attention since its
energetic debut Tuesday
on the Hong Kong stock market.
The debut generated $1.5 billion USD for 858.9 million shares. This figure seems eerily similar to Google's $1.66 billion USD debut in 2004. Investors saw stock prices triple within hours as a flurry of activity occurred.
Alibaba is an ecommerce site which connects Asian manufacturers, big and small,with people who need their products. Users of the popular site can request a certain product and Alibaba will seek out a manufacturer.
While Alibaba, the second largest internet company in Asia draws comparisons to Google, these speculations do not involve Alibaba become a competitor to Google. The pair have very different market sectors, with Google mostly focusing on search engines, advertising and free email services.
The real battle appears to be between Google and another Asian company, Baidu, which is the number one search engine in China. Google meanwhile is second and is constantly looking to boost its position. Earlier this year it was reported by
Google was building a new center in Shanghai
Alibaba does however have some aspirations of taking on Google according to its founder. Similar to Google, Alibaba hopes to gain general world web domination, not limited to just one market sector. Its founder, Jack Ma explains "I want to turn the company into a leading e-commerce platform for China, Asia and even the world."
Yahoo currently has a 40 percent interest in Alibaba and Alibaba owns Yahoo China, a confusing situation to say the least. Jack Ma discussed the acquisition of Yahoo China to reporters in 2005, saying challengingly toGoogle, "We will use all the resources we have to focus on search in the next two to three years in China. ...We already won (over) eBay. We already bought Yahoo! and the money is to stop Google."
Yahoo China is the third largest search engine in China currently, despite being a target of some recent lawsuits of RIAA parent organization IFPI,
Rob Enderle, a principal analyst at the Enderle Group, argues that Alibaba and other regional internet firms stand a real threat to Google. "Undoubtedly, Google will be nibbled to death by turkeys because a lot of folks can come in and niche them out by region and bleed Google through that niche,” said Enderle.“They're going to have to address this at some point. For Google who's a global player, they have to try to kind of be the best at doing everything. That means that some other company will be the best at doing something."
Alibaba also owns eBay-esque Taobaba, PayPal-esque Alipay, and Chinese IT and tech software firm Alisoft.
With such a strong debut and a broad portfolio of holdings, it’s likely Alibaba won't remain unnoticed by the West for long.
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