The company did outline its financials, though, reporting 2013 global sales of $5.6 billion.
While Alibaba has ties to payment processing, cloud computing and film production, it's most well-known for its websites that allow merchants to sell items – including promotional products – directly to people worldwide. Of particular note in North America, Alibaba has recently announced plans to launch a U.S. e-commerce website called 11 Main, which will sell jewelry, apparel and tech products.
Alibaba's focus, though, seems consumer-driven at the moment, analysts note, especially in the wake of its recent deal with Amazon competitor ShopRunner. Last October, Alibaba paid $200 million to gain a 39% stake in ShopRunner, whose retail partners include Neiman Marcus. ShopRunner said this week it will begin using Alibaba's logistics infrastructure to launch in China, essentially giving U.S. firms a window into the massive Chinese economy.
Alibaba was founded in 1999 by Counselor Power 50 member Jack Ma, a former schoolteacher who owns 9% of the tech firm. Based on its surging revenues and recent acquisitions, many analysts value Alibaba at roughly $200 billion. Alibaba's IPO is being underwritten by Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan, Morgan Stanley and Citigroup. No firm IPO launch date has been set.