Alibaba raises share price ahead of IPO

<p>Chinese e-commerce giant has increased the price range of its initial public offering (IPO).</p>

With demand for the Alibaba Group’s stock market debut proving even stronger than expected, the Chinese e-commerce giant has increased the price range of its initial public offering (IPO).

The firm said in an official filing that it expected to price its shares at between $66 (£40.7) and $68 each, up from its earlier price range of $60 to $66 a share, suggesting high demand for the firm's shares.

Alibaba could now raise more than $25 billion (£15.4 billion) when it lists in New York next week.

The company would have a valuation of around $168 billion, larger than amazon.com, which has a market capitalisation of about $150 billion.

Founder Jack Ma noted that the company would spread its business aggressively into the US and Europe following its listing.

The company is selling 123.1 million of the 320.1 million shares in the IPO. Meanwhile, selling shareholders, including founder Jack Ma, Yahoo and executive vice chairman Joe Tsai, are offering the rest, the BBC reports.

In Alibaba’s latest earnings report, sales in the second quarter rose 46 per cent to $2.54 billion, and net income nearly tripled to $1.99 billion from the year prior. Alibaba accounts for 80 per cent of all online retail sales in China.

The company's first business was alibaba.com, which was set up by the company's founder Jack Ma in 1999. It helps to connect exporters in China with companies around the world.

It also owns taobao.com, China's largest shopping website, and tmall.com, which offers a wide selection of branded goods to China's emerging middle class. In addition, Alibaba runs the online payment system alipay.com.

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