Jumei IPO a Winner, Bodes Well for Alibaba

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Jumei International Holding Ltd. (NYSE: JMEI) operates China’s leading online beauty products site, Jumei.com. The company priced its initial public offering of 11.14 million shares at $22 a share on Thursday, above the expected range of $19.50 to $21.50. Shares opened Friday morning at $27.30, and more than 3.7 million shares traded hands in the first 45 minutes of trading.

The company raised $245 million in the IPO and now has a valuation of about $3.3 billion. Lead underwriters were Goldman Sachs (Asia), Credit Suisse and J.P. Morgan.

Jumei’s share of the Chinese market for online sales of beauty products was around 22% in 2013, and the company claims that its customer base grew from 1.3 million in 2011 to 10.5 million last year. Repeat orders accounted for about 88% of all orders placed in 2013.

What Jumei’s IPO indicates for the coming Alibaba IPO is that demand from investors in fast-growing Chinese Internet companies remains robust. That is good news for Alibaba and for Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ: YHOO), which holds a stake of about 24% in the Chinese Internet giant.

Another positive signal for Alibaba’s IPO came earlier this week when Hong Kong-listed Tencent Holdings reported a 60% spike in earnings for the first quarter. Tencent’s social messaging service WeChat (Weixin in China) has been valued as high as $64 billion on the basis of nearly 400 million monthly active users. Alibaba’s founder and CEO all but declared war on Tencent earlier this year, but Alibaba has nothing that competes with WeChat. Laiwang, Alibaba’s messaging app, claims just 10 million monthly active users, compared with 396 million for WeChat.

Back to Jumei, which reached a peak of $28.28 Friday morning before settling to $26.11, up more than 18% above its IPO price.

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