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China e-commerce giant Alibaba could file its IPO this week




The webpage of Alibaba.com is seen on a laptop computer screen in Hong Kong on February 22, 2012.
The webpage of Alibaba.com is seen on a laptop computer screen in Hong Kong on February 22, 2012.
AARON TAM/AFP/Getty Images

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Alibaba - arguably the world's biggest ecommerce company - is said to be close to an IPO (Initial Public Offering).

With transactions totalling $240 billion last year, the company is China's most popular online shopping site, but it also operates a search engine and a bank. This Wall Street Journal infographic helps explain. 

The former CEO and co-founder, Jack Ma, reportedly wants to be listed on a U.S. exchange to ensure he and his co-founders retain a lot of control over the company (the Hong Kong exchange would not accept the corporate structure).

The other owners of Alibaba at present include Softbank (with 37% share) and Yahoo (with a 24% share). How do Alibaba's ventures compare to Amazon, eBay, Google, PayPal and the like? How will an IPO change the company?

Guest:

Praveen Menon, Senior Internet Analyst with Bloomberg Industries