I've been having Asia withdraws lately. Whether or not it is because my visits and short stints of residency in their vast continent happen to always coincide with the fall season or perhaps maybe it is because the moment I unravel my wardrobes that carry my delicate furs and paisley capes, I fall into a daydream and reminisce on my past life in the Orient and I have nothing but electrifying adventures and fond memories to keep me afloat.
Asia is one of those places that is flanked by elegance and sophistication. One thing that has always puzzled me when I was growing up, was the rise in consumerism, and particularly the rise in consumerism in Asia. A friend of mine, Heston, a rather cheeky and smart lad that works at one of the top Venture Capital funds in the nation, recently sent me an article rehashing a discussion we had started on Ali Baba and my, my what an interesting week it is for the acclaimed e-commerce powerhouse! "For Alibaba, it was part of a continuing effort to make the instant gratification of global e-commerce accessible to China’s expanding middle class. If the biggest Internet company in the world’s most populous nation succeeds, it will make everything from culinary delicacies to flashy luxury goods available with a few keystrokes."
When thinking about Asia, even while I daydream, I can't help but automatically think about what Ali Baba has done and is about to do to e-commerce and retail. It is said that Ali Baba equates to over 5% of China's GDP, and that number is only on the verge of drastically rising. Ali Baba, the Amazon of China, is set to IPO later this week in the US. For months since the initial chatter started as well as their initial filings for an IPO, other companies in a similar disposition have been scrambling around, afraid to even go anywhere near an IPO on the same week, yet alone month. You can't help but be interested in what they have going on; once Ali Baba IPO's, they will have had the largest IPO to date of any company to list on the American stock exchange. With their newest list price per share being raised to $68 USD, Ali Baba is now valued at over ~$168B and would raise more than ~$25B, beating Amazon's valuation handsomely by a cool ~$18B.
Their founder, Jack Ma, a central business figure in a clan known by many, held a press conference in Hong Kong last week stating that they have plans for an aggressive international expansion into the Americas and Europe, following their IPO. This is a movement and a time in history that I will never forget, as, if successful, Ali Baba has the potential and power to completely change e-commerce and retailing forever. What a fantastic time to be living and working in tech.