A Chinese Company Just Announced the Biggest IPO in U.S. History

Jack Ma, chairman of the Alibaba Group.

Photo by Yoshikazu Tsuno/AFP/Getty Images

After months of anticipation, Alibaba’s initial public offering has cemented its place in history as the biggest IPO ever in the U.S. Shares of the Chinese e-commerce giant, which does more sales than Amazon and eBay combined, were priced at $68 apiece on Thursday to raise $21.8 billion. No IPO in the U.S. has previously topped the $20 billion mark, though Facebook came close with $16 billion in 2012 and Visa raised $17.9 billion in 2008. The world record for largest offering is held by Agricultural Bank of China, which raised $22 billion in 2010.


Alibaba has been closely watched by investors as it planned its offering over the past several months. The company is a household name in China, where it is all but synonymous with online shopping. It is much less well known in the U.S., but essentially something of a PayPal meets Amazon meets Twitter meets Spotify meets Hulu meets plenty of other things. For almost every business you can think of, the odds are that there’s an Alibaba equivalent.

The $68 share price values Alibaba’s entire company at $168 billion, which the Wall Street Journal reports makes it “instantly one of the largest listed in the U.S.” and gives it a larger market capitalization than Amazon’s $150 billion. Alibaba stock is scheduled to begin trading on Friday on the New York Stock Exchange under the aptly named ticker “BABA.”