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Alibaba to name partnership members for IPO

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, which is preparing a massive US stock offer, plans to reveal the 28 people who effectively control it, the firm said, as it apparently seeks to ease future shareholders' concerns, the Wall Street Journal said Thursday.

SHANGHAI: Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, which is preparing a massive US stock offer, plans to reveal the 28 people who effectively control it, the firm said, as it apparently seeks to ease future shareholders' concerns, the Wall Street Journal said Thursday.

Alibaba -- founded by Jack Ma, a former English teacher turned Internet entrepreneur -- earlier this month filed documents to the US Securities and Exchange Commission for its initial public offering (IPO) which analysts could value the firm from US$100 billion to US$200 billion or even more.

The company had originally considered listing in Hong Kong, a special administrative region of China, but talks between Alibaba and Hong Kong's stock exchange broke down because its rules prevented Ma and senior management from retaining some control over the board of directors.

The Wall Street Journal, quoting "people familiar" with the company's plans, said Alibaba will disclose the 28 members of the "Alibaba Partnership" who have the power to appoint a majority of the corporate board.

Naming the partners will show how much voting power they have, which could ease concerns over their influence, it said.

According to Alibaba's prospectus, the current 28 partners include 22 members of management and six managers from related companies and affiliates.

It did not name them, but said: "This structure is our solution for preserving the culture shaped by our founders while at the same time accounting for the fact that the founders will inevitably retire from the company."

Ma stepped down as Alibaba's chief executive officer last year but remains chairman to provide strategic direction.

Alibaba is often described as China's version of Amazon or eBay, since it has elements of both those firms. It operates China's most popular e-shopping platform, Taobao, which is estimated to hold more than 90 per cent of the online market for consumer-to-consumer transactions.

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