Most of the internet services termed revolutionary in the free world are blocked in the Middle Kingdom. As the Chinese Communist Party would have it, this places some form of control on the political rhetoric in the country. This has created an environment for the growth of internet companies which specifically target the Chinese population, and the immensity of the Chinese nation has brought a lot of wealth to Asia’s internet billionares. Social media giant, Weibo and now Alibaba, the e-commerce company have announced their intent to list in the US securities market. In a country of 500 million internet users, Weibo serves a fifth of this number reporting revenues of $188 million in 2013. Weibo hopes to raise $500 million through its IPO in the US market.
Alibaba’s grip on Chinese e-commerce is in contention as the ambitious JD.com is working hard to take over China’s online retail market. But the former has been around for 15 years and now holds 45.1% of China’s online retail market. JD.com has the advantage of having partnered with Tencent who own WeChat, this places 225 million users of the chat service at JD.com’s disposal. While JD.com has a market share of 14%, there was growh in its userbase over the last year compared to Alibaba which dropped its market share from 46.1%.
Analysts predict that Alibaba’s IPO could raise up to $15 billion valuing the company at $140 billion. This would be the second largest IPO by an internet company after Facebook. With $586 million invested in Weibo, Alibaba owns an 18% stake in the social media platform. This is part of its strategy to ramp up its mobile services as they follow the money. Chinese mobile users are the most active worldwide, data from iResearch projects that by 2017 this number will reach 750 million.