Alibaba Group Holdings Ltd., the Chinese Internet company prepping a huge initial public offering for later this year, has opened a website for U.S. shoppers, called 11 Main, that has more than 1,000 vendors and will compete with businesses like eBay Inc. (NASDAQ:EBAY) and Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN).
The website’s early offerings will include clothing, accessories and jewelry and will add new categories as it expands, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.
Earlier on Wednesday, Alibaba said it will buy the roughly one-third of mobile browser company UCWeb that it doesn't already own for an undisclosed price.
Jack Ma founded Alibaba in 1999, and the company has since grown into an Internet and e-commerce giant with many different lines of businesses, including Taobao.com and Tmall.com, two of China’s most popular online retail platforms, under its banner. The company is expected to raise $15 billion to $20 billion, potentially surpassing Facebook Inc.’s (NASDAQ:FB) $16 billion offering in 2012.
With its massive potential reach, Alibaba is a tempting purchase for institutional investors who’ve been eager to put money into China. The stock will inevitably end up in mutual funds and pension funds, the sort of portfolios that hold individual investors’ savings -- turning millions of Americans into Alibaba shareholders.