The world’s biggest IPO makes Jack Ma the richest mainland Chinese at $25b

The world’s biggest IPO makes Jack Ma the richest mainland Chinese at $25b

Alibaba shares surge on New York stock market debut

Wall Street debut for e-commerce giant makes founder Jack Ma richest man on mainland as firm sells extra shares to meet strong demand
Ray Chan in New York and Agencies

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba’s shares surged on its long-awaited Wall Street debut yesterday following a record stock offering that opens the door to its global expansion.


Shares opened at US$92.70, 36 per cent above their US$68 offer price. Demand was so strong that Alibaba sold an additional 48 million shares, making the offer the world’s biggest IPO.

A group of Alibaba customers rang the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange, including Lao Lishi, an Olympic swimming gold medallist in 2004 who has a store on Alibaba’s Taobao platform selling wooden prayer beads and bracelets.

The listing has made founder and chairman Jack Ma Yun, 50, the mainland’s richest man. He sold shares worth US$867 million in the offering, with the bulk of his wealth tied up in the 206 million shares he is hanging on to – representing about 7.3 per cent of the company’s enlarged share capital. Ma now has an estimated net wealth of more than US$25 billion.

“Personally, I don’t have any feeling of being the richest person in any way,” Ma told reporters at the New York Stock Exchange after the shares debuted.

He added that he felt “blessed” by the trust of investors and the company would “spend the IPO money wisely and carefully”.

Alibaba and its investors, including Yahoo, raised US$21.77 billion by selling 320.1 million American depository shares, with half allocated to 25 large institutional accounts, according to people familiar with the deal.

The share sale was already a US record; with the extra shares it would eclipse the US$22 billion world record set by Agricultural Bank of China in its 2010 dual listing in Hong Kong and Shanghai.

Yahoo shares gained 1.7 per cent in early Nasdaq trading after Alibaba priced its initial public offering at US$68 a share, the top end of the expected range.

Alibaba’s largest shareholder, Japanese telecommunications giant SoftBank, owns 32.4 per cent of the company after the IPO.

SoftBank, which did not sell any shares in the IPO, saw its shares rise 0.6 per cent in Tokyo trading yesterday

The second-biggest individual IPO windfall went to Alibaba vice-chairman Joseph Tsai. He has 83.5 million shares worth US$5.7 billion at the IPO price and cashed in US$300 million worth of shares.

Ten other Alibaba directors and executives hold a combined 52.3 million shares, or about 2 per cent of the company.

In a commentary last night, Xinhua said 15-year-old Alibaba’s emergence as an e-commerce giant reflected the “rising power of Chinese business on the world stage”.

Rising internet and smartphone use had “opened new battlefields for Chinese entrepreneurs”, it said. “With better local knowledge and public trust, some ambitious young Chinese companies have managed to outshine their American counterparts expanding into China,” Xinhua said, listing success stories such as Alibaba, Baidu, Tencent, JD and Sina.

It said about a third of the 20 internet companies with the highest market value were now based in China, with many of them choosing to go public in the United States.

Agence France-Presse, Bloomberg, Reuters

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Robert Chaen

Global CEO-Founder of ChangeU and Movsha Movers & Shakers, Hero-CEO Whisperer, Writer, The #1 Alpha Change Expert, Father of Asian FireWalking Robert Chaen is an International Keynote Speaker, writer, researcher, and corp games designer. He is famously known to be the “Hero-CEO Whisperer”, 1-on1 coaching with many CEOs and Celebrities for corporate strategies, staff & office political issues, personal branding, and even public figure OSHA safety drilling called Drager Defense. He has transformed CEOs and managers in Coca-Cola China, TVB Hong Kong, Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong Airport Services, VADS, TM, Public Bank, Auditor General's Office Maldives, etc. He is the prolific creator and online Author of innovative management tools such as DragonCEO, Diamond Leader, Papillon Personal Effectiveness, OSHA Drager Defense, KPI Bank, etc. He is also the Founder of Movsha, an international networking with monthly mingles with MOVers & SHAkers, Angels, Entrepreneurs, CEOs, Celebrities, HR-PR-CSR, HODs, and the Most Influential IDEA people. ​Chaen is widely considered as one of the top International Platform Keynote Speakers for Resorts World Genting Senior Management Conference (Manila), 7-Eleven HK, Samsung, Coca-Cola China Mini-MBA @Tsing Hua University, Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong Jockey Club, The Story Conference where he interviewed Datuk Kamarudin (Chairman of AirAsia) and Siti Nurhaliza. He has been widely featured in TVB, AWSJ, CNBC, SCMP, The Star, and Sin Chew. As “The Father of Asian FireWalking”, he coached TVB celebrities (Ekin Cheng Yee-Kin) to walk on 650°C fire; and raised HK$68M in the world’s 1st and only live TV Charity FireWalk (TVB Tung Wah Charity Show), before Tony Robbins even came to Asia. If Robert can get you to walk on 650⁰C fire, he can inspire you to be THE BEST. He champions CN-HK-EU-US Tycoons to be philanthropic, and to be angel investors to support the next generation of Jack Mas, Steve Jobs, Richard Bransons, Steven Spielbergs, or Barrack Obamas. With some slick motivational speakers with fake doctorates out there, graduates often describe Robert to be "the most credible, empowering, truthful Coach" who believe in his graduates to believe in themselves. ​However, clients have described Robert as "The #1 Cool Badass Alpha Change Expert". He has the coolest first class stature, rapport and trust from clients. He will not hesitate to tell the badass truth ever so gently because clients are paying him big bucks to reveal the truth, find solutions, persuade the hostile HODs, and align cross-teams within the organization. Originally based in Hong Kong for 20+ years, he had worked with top Branding/Ad agencies at J Walter Thompson and Leo Burnett, and was a certified FranklinCovey (7 Habits) in USA, and NLP MasterCoach (USA). His warmth is known to soften the most hardened, resistant sceptics. He will inspire your team to Go for Top 1, or to be a Dragon CEO. With boundless energies, Robert owns 15+ successful business Joint-Ventures, and created unique products under his global VC network called Chaen's Angels VC. He is deeply passionate about ChangeUTH Youth CSR, Science-Based Medicine (vs. quackery), short films and Reality TV. Touched by a personal tragedy through the loss of his HK-born Portuguese wife, co-coach and business partner, Brenda José of 18 years, Robert explores the many ways in which the spirit world is communicating with the living with real scientific studies and evidence. He gives inspiring conferences on The Secret Afterlife.

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