When Jack Ma set up e-commerce site Alibaba in 1999, he told reporters he wanted to be “bigger than Wal-Mart.” The multinational chain might still be the world’s biggest retailer by revenue, but yesterday, Alibaba overtook its rival in value.
Alibaba listed on the New York Stock Exchange last month at $167.6 billion, or $68 per share – a record figure for a new IPO. But its share price has shot up dramatically and rose by a further 2.8% yesterday morning, hitting $100.45 a share and taking the total company value up to $247 billion.
At the same time, Wal-Mart’s share price dropped to $76, meaning that the company is now worth $245 billion – $2 billion less than Alibaba.
Alibaba’s astonishing rate of growth has made it a major challenger both to physical and online retailers, in China and, increasingly, overseas. Founder Ma, formerly a schoolteacher, is now the richest man in China.
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