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Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba finally files for its IPO

Image Credit: Andy Mitchell

Alibaba has started its long-awaited initial public offering (IPO), according to U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission documents filed today.

The news follows a continuous string of rumors that the titanic Chinese e-commerce company was planning a public offering. Alibaba’s IPO could be worth a whopping $16 billion — which is how much Facebook scooped up in its public debut back in 2012 — as VentureBeat’s Eric Blattberg previously reported.

Alibaba reportedly “accounts for as much as 80 percent of e-commerce in China.” Yet the company has also been growing its cloud computing business. At the end of 2013, it had more than 980,000 cloud customers, according to the filing. That growth should continue, according to the company.

“[W]e will continue to invest heavily in our cloud computing platform to support our own businesses and those of third parties,” Alibaba said in the filing. But for now, this is not a huge business compared to Alibaba’s entire scope of operations. In the year that ended on March 31, 2013, it registered $105 million in revenue for cloud computing and Internet infrastructure revenue.

The company also recently pushed into streaming video with a major stake in Youku Tudou, China’s largest video service.

Here’s the filing in full:

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