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Should American firms be worried about new Alibaba backed competitors?

James Dennin, Kapitall: Alibaba has an equivalent product for most American tech brands. Could this IPO disrupt US tech giants?

Everyone's talking about the upcoming Alibaba IPO after the company officially announced its filing yesterday. New estimates now suggest that the giant of Chinese tech may unroll the biggest IPO ever

[Read more from Kapitall: Will the Alibaba IPO live up to its lofty expectations?]

Bigger than Goldman Sachs (GS) in 2009. Bigger than Facebook (FB) in 2012. Alibaba's filings reveal that it is seeking about $20 billion in its initial offering. That's about 2/3 of the entire market capitalization for one of Yahoo! (YHOO), Alibaba's biggest stakeholder. 

As CNET pointed out, that's awkward for Yahoo! as it would suggest that most of its run on the stock-market has been sustained by Alibaba hype. But there are also some caveats:

  • Jim Cramer took to Twitter (TWTR) to argue that there's not enough money in the market to sustain a big tech IPO
  • That could hurt growth plays as people sell holdings to get a piece of Alibaba
  • Some investors worry about key omissions in yesterday's 2000-page filing

Still, it's startling to grasp how big the numbers are. And that's partially because Alibaba doesn't really have a tech-equivalent here in the US, even though many of its services are modeled on American brands. 

To give you some idea, we built a list using this article in Quartz about the many, many Alibaba brands and their American equivalents.

Because the whole point of the IPO is to generate visibility for Alibaba in the West, US firms could soon face competition in everything from cloud computing, to travel booking, to the obvious: e-commerce. 

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