Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce giant, starts trading on the New York Stock Exchange today under the listing BABA.
It priced at $68 yesterday, meaning that it's raising around $21.8 billion, making it the largest IPO in the history of the US stock market.
Here are some facts about the company that help you figure out just how powerful it really is:
- Like we said, it's raising $22 billion. That's the biggest IPO ever.
- 20,884 people work for Alibaba. That's more employees than Yahoo and Facebook have combined.
- Yahoo could make nearly $10 billion on Alibaba's IPO. Yahoo currently owns ~22 percent of the company and plans to sell 121.7 million shares, or about a 4.9 percent stake. Yahoo could make anywhere from $8.3 to $9.5 billion from the IPO, and its remaining stake will be worth another $26 billion.
- In 2013, two of Alibaba's websites handled $240 billion in sales. That's double the size of Amazon, triple the size of eBay, and one-third more than the two competitor companies combined.
- During the Chinese equivalent of Black Friday, Alibaba processed more than $5.75 billion in sales. That's 3X more sales in just one day than America saw on Black Friday--on just one company's websites.
- Alibaba's sites account for over 60 percent of the packages delivered in China. It handles roughly 80 percent of all e-commerce too.
- Alibaba has millions of active buyers. Alibaba has 231 million annual active buyers who make 11.3 billion orders per year. It also has more than 2.8 million supplier online storefronts and more than 5,900 product categories.
- Alibaba's IPO will be the biggest in US stock market history. Alibaba priced at $68 per share, raising just less than $21.8 billion, which tops Verizon's record of $17.9 billion. Alibaba is valued at $167.8 billion. The biggest IPO in the world was the $22.1 billion raised by the Agricultural Bank of China in 2010.
- Alibaba is on track to become the world's first e-commerce firm to handle $1 trillion a year in transactions.
- Alibaba's Taobao is one of the 20 most-visited websites globally. Taobao lets users sell goods to one another (like on eBay) and it features nearly a billion products from more than seven million merchants.
- Alibaba has a mind-bogglingly huge frontier for growth. Hundreds of millions of Chinese citizens still haven't shopped online, and analysts predict that China's e-commerce market will be bigger than the existing markets in America, Britain, Japan, Germany and France combined by 2020.
- The company spent more than $3.5 billion on acquisitions since the beginning of 2013.
- There are two secrets to Alibaba's $100 billion success in its home country. It blocks China's search engine from searching inside two of its most popular web stores, Taobao and Tmall. (To understand that contrast from the norm, Google search "buy ___," and you'll see that Google will pull up product listings from sites like Amazon and Ebay. You can't do that with a Chinese search engine.)
- By not allowing search engines to display Taobao or Tmall items in search, Alibaba makes consumers start all their searches within each virtual store. It can then rake in cash by selling search ads on Taobao and Tmall--acting more like Google in how it makes money than eBay or Amazon.
- The company uses a unique payments system. It has Alipay, an online-payments system that relies on escrow. It releases money to sellers only once their buyers are happy with the goods received.
- Alipay was responsible for 70% of the mobile-payments business in China in 2013.
- Alibaba has also dipped its toes in the loan business. For three years, Alibaba been making small loans (average size $8,000) to merchants using its sites. This practice has given it boatloads of data that it can use to help decide the company's business strategy. It processed $600m in loans in 2012 and predicted that it would reach $2 billion by the end of 2013, with the non-performing-loan ratio below 2 percent.
- Alibaba's online investment fund, Yu'e Bao, has more investor's than the country's equity market. It has raised more than $65 billion, according to the Wall Street Journal--only five similar funds worldwide have more cash.
- The company has also started to break into the messaging app space. It's app, called Laiwang, had more than 10 million users in January.
- There's an annual employee talent show, that's so big that it's held at a local stadium. Employees will rehearse for weeks, and Alibaba's office is filled with photos from past events.
- The company's name really is a reference to an old folk tale. Founder Jack Ma said in an interview that he chose the name because people all over the world have heard the story of Alibaba and the forty thieves. "We also registered the name Alimama, in case someone wants to marry us!"
- Jack Ma, Alibaba's founder, has a net worth of $10 billion. That makes him the eighth richest person in China.