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Alibaba.com puts Facebook in the shade

Chinese internet websites are hot properties and the latest IPO (Initial Public Offer) just proves it.

The shares of Alibaba.com (opens in new tab), one of China's biggest Internet company, have nearly tripled on the first day, in what some have described as a Google-esque performance.

It has managed to raise USD 1.5bn in Hongkong, which almost equals Google's initial 2004 share sales with only one of every 256 requests for shares being honoured.

The company is now the second biggest Asian Internet company, behind Yahoo Japan whose parent, Yahoo! has invested in Alibaba.com.

Alibaba.com is the Chinese version of what a Business Facebook.com might look like. It charges members from China and Hongkong, an annual fee to become premium members allowing them to email potential clients and more.

Businesses and prospective customers, from all over the world, try to build relationships (and sell their stuff) and its explosive growth has gone has seen the emergence of thousands of suppliers on Ebay and elsewhere.

The firm, which owns Yahoo China and Auction site Taobao, has 25 million registered members and was founded back in 1999.

But analysts have been quick to point out that such enthusiasm could prove costly in the long run

Alibaba's shares traded at 155 times next year's estimated earnings per share. By contrast, Google shares trade at about 36 times estimated 2008 earnings, a 4x difference.

Désiré Athow
Contributor

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at ITProPortal.com where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.