Cash-rich Alibaba not listing

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 11 March, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 11 March, 2006, 12:00am

China's largest online marketplace has dismissed speculation that it is looking to go public, saying it has a large stockpile of cash after merging with mainland portal Yahoo China last year.

Alibaba chief executive Jack Ma said yesterday that as Yahoo, the parent of Yahoo China, had paid US$1 billion for a 40 per cent stake in the merged firm, 'we have no plans to list the company, because we have so much cash on hand'.

'It would be easy for us to be a listed company, but our target now is to become the No1 search engine in the China market,' Mr Ma said.

He said the two companies had finished the first phase of consolidation since the merger was announced in August last year.

He added that its three lines of businesses - online trading place, retail online market platform and online payment system - were well developed and profitable.

'Our second of phase consolidation will focus on fine-tuning the search engine portal, from an American-style to one tailor-made for Chinese,' Mr Ma said, adding that it could take three to five years to make Yahoo China the leading search engine in the country.