What are Alibaba's headquarters like?

Alibaba announced it was moving forward with an IPO that looks to be the largest offering since Facebook and the first with such a focus on the Chinese market and global commerce. Most investors have no idea what Alibaba really does or about the aggressive plans the company has for world expansion. But a peek inside their corporate office shows this company is thinking globally and thinking very big.

The company headquarters are located in Hangzhou, a modern city and big economic-development zone. It's centrally located near many large educational institutions providing them a large population of qualified candidates as the company continues to grow — a huge competitive advantage.

People walk through Alibaba.com Ltd.'s headquarters in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, China.
Nelson Ching | Bloomberg | Getty Images
People walk through Alibaba.com Ltd.'s headquarters in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, China.

As our offices only 30 minutes from Silicon Valley, we are accustomed to large corporate campuses such as Cisco and Google. Alibaba has an impressive facility that is similar in that it has the requisite food courts, massage therapists, an on-site Starbucks, and gift shops where they sell Alibaba merchandise.

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In the middle of the campus is a large nude statue of a man. I was told that Jack Ma was a fan of this particular artist and therefore this unique statute greets visitors as you make your way around the campus. Artwork is prevalent throughout the grounds and it is clear that modern and contemporary art is an important part of the landscaping vision for the facility.

There's an area where a giant LCD screen the size of a small movie theater projects data and a world map showing — in real-time — the current activities of customers. At any given moment, you can see a pop-up bubble from a country and a description of the product purchased. This purchase adds to the ongoing tally that is shown as a digital dashboard on the large LCD screen. It's impressive. (Click here to see it — and scroll down to the last photo.)

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As investors are considering Alibaba's IPO, it's important to not only recognize the massive scale of this company in China but also globally. The LCD map provides a visual example of that focus on global commerce.

An impressive company's campus does not guarantee success nor does it assure a successful IPO. But seeing the facility firsthand, talking to the employees, and getting a sense of the corporate culture at a company, does give you the opportunity to have more insight into the company.

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Alibaba's success in the end will live and die with their business results. But Alibaba's campus has a feeling of purpose and determination to be a major global player. Their announced IPO is one step forward towards their goal of increasing their global reach.

Commentary by Michael A. Yoshikami, the CEO and founder of Destination Wealth Management in Walnut Creek, California. He is also a CNBC contributor.