NEW YORK (dpa) – Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba’s shares were nothing short of a scorching success in their debut Friday on the New York Stock Exchange.
Trading opened at 11.53am and the share price quickly rose to 99.70 dollars before settling back to about 92 dollars and then closing at 93.80 dollars, Bloomberg news reported.
Company founder Jack Ma beamed in an appearance on the floor of the exchange as traders cheered. But he turned down a chance to ring the bell to open trading of stocks in Alibaba, letting eight Alibaba customers do the honours, symbolically underlining the company’s “customers first” motto – and its challenge to online retail giants eBay and Amazon.
Ma added five billion dollars to his net worth, according to Bloomberg. The gain makes him the second-richest person in Asia behind Hong Kong’s Li Ka-Shing, according to the news agency’s billionaires index.
More than 100 million shares traded within 20 minutes of the Internet marketplace’s debut. By the close of trading the number reached more than 268 million.
Early indications had placed the opening share price at 80 to 83 dollars, but demand was so strong, the offering price had to be revised 10 times, USA Today reported.
Alibaba broke the US record for the most capital raised in an initial public offering (IPO) – 21.8 billion dollars – on Thursday when underwriters sold 320 million shares to investors for 68 dollars each.
The much higher trading price achieved on Friday meant the company’s market value shot up from 167.6 billion dollars to 231.7 billion dollars overnight. The total is larger than the market value of Amazon.com and eBay combined.
The volume of commerce conducted on Alibaba is greater than those two US e-commerce companies, according to Alibaba, and investors expect it to get even bigger as China’s consumer class continues to grow in the country of 1.36 billion people.
The company now trails only Google, Apple and Microsoft in size among US-traded technology companies. Facebook, the world’s largest social network, is worth about 199.8 billion.