I wrote about the company last year and now it is time to do it again. Alibaba Group Holding Ltd is a big fish which is preparing to launch perhaps the largest U.S stock listing ever of a Chinese company.
Personally, I have been dealing with Alibaba for many years now, but most of the people don`t have a clue of what it is. Alibaba is a mix of Amazon, Ebay, Paypal and Google. The difference between Amazon and Alibaba is that Alibaba is connecting buyers and sellers, while Amazon buy from suppliers and sell the products to the customers.
Alibaba is more like Ebay Inc. Their role is more like a middleman role and does not operate like an auction. Taobao is Alibaba`s biggest website. It is a gigantic Chinese bazar with about 760 million product listings from 7 million sellers.
Merchants pay Alibaba for advertising and other services from Alibaba. They do not pay them to sell their own products. The no-fee model is part of Taobao`s appeal in China. Just like Google, the ads from merchants appear with Taobao`s product-search results.
Taobao is designed for small businesses, but Alibaba`s Tmall is another shopping site that is designed for bigger brands like Nike and Apple. Tmall has about 70.000 merchants. They charges each seller a deposit and an annual fee, as well as a commission on each transaction.
Taobao and Tmall accounts for more than half of all parcel deliveries in China. In 2012, the combined transaction volume of Taobao and Tmall topped $163 billion. That is more than Amazon and eBay combined!
Alibaba`s revenue is 1/10 of Amazon`s. The Chinese company doesn`t sell products like Amazon on its site. Alibaba`s revenue rose 51% (third quarter) to $1,78 billion, while Amazon posted revenue of $17,09 billion and a loss of $41 million in the same quarter.
Alibaba`s profit margin is 44,6% and net profit was $792 million. They could raise about $15 billion from their U.S IPO. This can move another stock; Yahoo, which own a stake of 24% in Alibaba.
It can move Yahoo before and after the IPO. Like the Facebook IPO, they may «suck the air» of the markets. Yahoo has a market cap of $36 billion. It`s early in the process, but it is estimated that the IPO range is about $160 billion.
Alibaba remains by far the biggest player in China`s fast growing e-commerce market. Their biggest competitor Tenchent Holdings Ltd is a powerful competitor because of their popular WeChat mobile-messaging application.
Going public will keep Alibaba in the race in the global market. Yahoo is down -2,0% today and -11,2% YTD. This can change because Yahoo is a takeover candidate. This is one of the pioneers of the web.
Yahoo is a great success story of the Net. The stock has returned 21% annually since early trading in 1996. The company have survived two bear markets to date, and was one of the tech companies in the tech bubble in the late 1990`s.
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