Yahoo in line to make big bucks from Alibaba IPO

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China's Alibaba surged 38 percent in its IPO debut on Friday.

The easiest way to think of Alibaba is it is the Chinese version of eBay, but that doesn't quite do it justice. The 15 year old site combines online retail, social media and a search engine into one. Alibaba offers the curious consumer everything from milling wheat to steel pipes to high end jewelry.

The company is bigger than Amazon and eBay combined. It is worth more than Facebook and on Friday Alibaba raised more cash than any IPO in history.

Yet on the streets of San Francisco, not many are not familiar with the company. Alibaba's founder Jack Ma hopes to reverse. He wants his company to become as well- known as Silicon Valley heavyweights.

Geoff Yang of Redpoint Ventures says today's record setting IPO should be a wake-up call to the U.S. technology industry about the quality of innovation abroad.

"It's a signaling, it's an awakening and it's a significant coming out party for Alibaba," said Yang.

Technology forecaster Paul Saffo thinks the IPO could spin a different way.

"When you have a company coming out and they do 30 percent better on their first day, there's a whole bunch of other companies who say, wow the window's open and it's a good time for us to do our IPO," said Saffo.

They both agree Alibaba entered the market at an advantage. The Chinese firewall prevents companies like eBay and Amazon from reaching the enormous Chinese consumer base.

"It is pretty worrisome that the Chinese market is closed to outsiders," said Yang.

Both tech insiders recognize the biggest Silicon Valley winner is Yahoo. The company held a 20 percent stake in Alibaba going into the market Friday morning.

On Friday CEO Marissa Mayer thanked Yahoo's co-founder Jerry Yang for identifying and pursing the investment. It made Yahoo more than $8 billion dollars before taxes.

For now questions remain about how the American public will embrace Alibaba and what Yahoo is going to do with its new windfall of cash.
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