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EBay and Amazon beware, Alibaba’s coming IPO means time to protect home turf

Australia leads the way to Globalisation with triple FTA with Asia’s big threeThe world’s biggest e-commerce company is set to go public in the world’s biggest retail market, the latter is true at least for now. Alibaba announced its decision to “commence the process of an initial public offering in the United States” on Sunday.

After last year’s failed attempt to persuade Hong Kong, Alibaba turned to the US for what set to be the biggest IPO since Facebook’s 2012 feat.

The Chinese giant will work with Credit Suisse Group AG, Deutsche Bank AG, Goldman Sachs Group Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co., Morgan Stanley and Citigroup Inc. in finalising the IPO, which could launch as early as April.

“Alibaba has evolved from a company selling two dozen items back in 1999 to a truly 5-star business network, with a transaction volume bigger than Amazon and eBay combined in 2012.

The essence of Alibaba’s success lies in its super network, connecting millions of consumers, retailers and suppliers. Its value addition strategy has moved beyond synergy and into something known as value synchronicity”, said Vivek Sood – CEO of Global Supply Chain Group.

Analysts expect the e-commerce giant to raise around US$15 billion, making it the top 4 biggest IPOs ever behind Visa, General Motors and Facebook.

The company also signaled its intention to list in China. “Should circumstances permit in the future, we will be constructive toward extending our public status in the China capital market in order to share our growth with the people of China”, Alibaba said in a statement.

Worth as much as US$200 billion, behind Google in the Internet field, Alibaba boasts annual profits five times those of Amazon last year after increasing its revenue by 61% and gross profits by 71%.

Serving more than six million retailers and 300 million consumers worldwide, Alibaba’s empire extends beyond its well-known e-retail operations on Taobao and Tmall sites.

The company also has its affiliate payment system Alipay, comparable to EBay’s PayPal, as well as financial services, logistics, mobile phone operating systems and TV set top boxes.

“China will soon become the world’s biggest retail market and Alibaba’s US IPO will lay a crucial springboard to gain a bigger share of the pie in China, which is currently 5%.

Amazon, whilst still upheld as a prime example of a 5-star business network, should level up or risk being outwitted in the game,” said Sood – the author of widely acclaimed book “The 5-Star Business Network”.

Sheer number of consumers, and their increasing purchasing power provides the fuel to Alibaba machine. Combine these numbers with the fact that in most cases Alibaba is not replacing a traditional business model, but rather creating blue ocean new business models and you can see the immense potential of the company. Now combine that with the access to the producers and understanding of production economics and you can truly see a challenging behemoth emerging.

It remains to be seen whether Amazon’s consumer understanding will trounce the above advantages that Alibaba enjoys.

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