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Alibaba could become the largest IPO. Ever.

Alibaba

Members of staff walk past a security guard at the headquarters of the Alibaba Group in Hangzhou, in eastern China's Zhejiang province.

The Chinese Internet giant, Alibaba Inc, is shaping up to be the largest initial public offering ever.

Analysts with MorningStar are predicting the company could raise at least $20 billion, potentially making it one of the most exciting offerings for investors since Facebook.

“Alibaba is one of the biggest e-commerce companies in the world, not just China," says Dennis Hudachek, a senior analyst at ETF.com, a financial services company. 

He says in 2013, Alibaba sold more than $248 billion in goods with some 231 million active users.

“Online shopping in China is expected to grow quite a bit in the coming years," Hudachek says. "It’s basically being pitched as a huge growth play, as well.”

Alibaba has the ability to hold investors attention well beyond the IPO, says RJ Hottovy, an analyst with MorningStar.

“One (way) is maintain its growth trajectories in China, which would indicate it is finding new customers in that region,” he says.

Hottovy says Alibaba might also keep investor’s attention if it can show growth in markets outside of China – say, for example, the United States.

Going public hasn’t been a completely smooth process, though. Alibaba has already pushed its IPO date back to September because the company and regulators wanted more time.

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