"The problem is they are going up against some well-equipped competitors," said Larry Levine, managing director of McGladrey's financial advisory practice. "But whether their success can be transferred, that's to be determined."
The company is expected to file an S-1 this week or early next week to list on a U.S. exchange this year. It's eventual IPO is expected to be one of the biggest in history.
Alibaba is often described as a hybrid of Amazon, PayPal and eBay and is composed of several core businesses.
Some of these include Taobao.com, which is an e-commerce platform for small businesses and entrepreneurs; Tmall.com, which sells name-brand goods from businesses to consumers; Alibaba.com, which is a site for wholesale buyers and sellers; and Alipay.com, which is its online and mobile payment service.
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Taobao and Tmall account for about half of all package deliveries in China and in 2012 the two sites' transaction volumes totaled more than Amazon and eBay's combined.
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But Alibaba's tremendous success in China may be where its growth begins and ends, experts said.
"It's not a walk in the park to capture the U.S. market. There are the challenges of competition, consumers and the shopping experiences in the U.S. are just different," said Moshe Cohen, assistant professor at Columbia Business School. "There's also a big cultural difference and then there is branding."
The company is booming in China because it's tailored for the Chinese consumer, said Edith Yeung, who's both head of marketing for mobile browser company Dolphin Browser, and an angel investor.