Alibaba is now the biggest retailer in the world
Woman walking past an Alibaba advertisement on a wall in Hangzhou
Alibaba has overtaken Wal-mart as the biggest retailer in the world.
The Chinese ecommerce business, which went public last month, leapfrogged the US supermarket giant as its valuation soared past $251bn.
Alibaba started the day a hair’s breadth behind Wal-Mart, with a market capitalisation of $245bn to Wal-Mart’s $246bn. However, the supermarket giant, which owns Asda in the UK, slipped backwards whilst Alibaba jumped.
Shares in Wal-mart fell 0.6pc to $76.09 in morning trading in New York, handing the business a market capitalisation of $245bn.
By contrast, the Chinese retail giant saw shares rise more than 2.5pc to a record high of $100.50 after its executive chairman and founder, Jack Ma, told a conference that he wanted to work with Apple on electronic payments.
Tuesday’s increase caps a steady ascent since mid-September, when Alibaba floated at $68 a share, raising $25bn and hitting a valuation of $170bn – the largest initial public offering in history.
The company, which was founded in Hangzhou, operates a string of online marketplaces in China. They include the Amazon-style Tmall, eBay rival Taobao, and Juhuasuan – a discount sales website similar to Groupon. Together the three sites have amassed a huge audience, with 279m active buyers a year.
The sprawling business also runs Alipay, an electronic payments operation which has around 300 active users.
Alibaba plans to use some of the cash it raised in its blockbuster IPO to expand into different territories, potentially competing with Wal-mart on its own doorstep.
The US supermarket giant, which is headquartered in Bentonville, Arkansas, operates 11,000m stores in 27 countries around the world, including Asda in the UK.