(AFP) – Oct 7, 2007
SHANGHAI (AFP) — Chinese e-commerce firm Alibaba Group, 40 percent owned by US-based Yahoo!, has won the nod from the Hong Kong bourse to list its core business unit in what could become the largest Chinese Internet IPO so far, state press reported Monday.
The initial public offering (IPO) plan of Alibaba's business-to-business unit Alibaba.com was approved at a hearing of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on October 4, the China Business News reported, citing unnamed sources.
Alibaba could launch the offering as soon as mid-October and its shares are expected to start trading in late October or early November, the report said.
Alibaba has said earlier this year that it "had been preparing for the IPO". Official newspaper reported in July that Alibaba aimed to raise 7.8 billion Hong Kong dollars (one billion US) from the offering.
If successful, it would become the largest for a Chinese Internet company, overtaking domestic peer Hong Kong-listed Tencent, analysts said.
Alibaba.com, which provides online trading services for small and medium-sized companies, has more than 4,400 full-time employees.
It has 21 million registered members for its Chinese site and 3.6 million for the international site, according to its website.
Alibaba Group, founded by former English teacher Jack Ma, also operates popular online auctioneer Taobao.com as well as Yahoo! China.
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