Alibaba seeks USD21bn for new Silk Road

Alibaba seeks USD21bn for new Silk Road

Alibaba - the Chinese online marketplace - is looking to sell over 320 million shares in its US IPO.

Priced between $60 - $66, that would be the largest technology listing in US history. 

This IPO would value the company at around $160bn, in the process reducing Yahoo's ownership of Alibaba from 24% to 16% (worth about $7.5bn).

Started in 1999, Alibaba has most obviously been compared to Amazon in the US. But it differs in that it simply connects merchants to consumers. So it doesn't stock its own inventory of goods.

With long-established brands like Amazon and Walmart to compete against, brand recognition will one of Alibaba's biggest challenges. Jack Ma, founder and chairman, released a letter to investors commenting "when an Internet company of our scale that originated in China enters the global scene, you should expect that it will encounter skepticism from different directions".

That may be true, but money talks and the Alibaba website hopes to open a brand new digital Silk Road, exposing eastern cottage industries to an ever-eager western market.