Alibaba justifies hype on stock market debut with e-commerce giant now worth $231bn

China’s Alibaba Group lived up to all the hype when it made its debut on the New York Stock Exchange on Friday, with its shares surging amid intense trading as the market value of the e-commerce giant soared. Alibaba had priced its shares at the top-end of its range at $68 but they opened much higher on Friday at $92.70 and closed the day up 38% at $93.89. Its market value was around $168bn at its offer price, but the share surge took that to $231bn by the end of the day.

The listing was expected to have raised $21.8bn for the e-commerce giant but a Wall Street Journal report citing sources says that bankers exercised their green shoe option due to the strong response, releasing additional shares that took that figure to $25bn and made it the biggest IPO in history.

The market debut had been keenly awaited with many investors eager to gain some exposure to the dominant player in China’s booming e-commerce sector. Alibaba has several online platforms, including Tmall and Taobao, and is said to play a part in 80% of all e-commerce sales in the country. With China’s online sector expected to see soaring growth in the coming years, the company is being viewed as a solid investment.

Founder and executive chairman Jack Ma was present as the bell was rung to begin trading and there has been much discussion about what he and the company have planned for their new cash pile. Alibaba has already made investments in several technology companies but acquisitions and new products, alongside action to sharpen its competitive edge at home, are all strong possibilities.

There is also much speculation about its possible plans for the US market. It already has 11main.com, an online marketplace for speciality shops and boutiques, but the New York listing is expected to be the starting point of a push for a much bigger presence in the country.

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