SAN FRANCISCO — Alibaba founder and executive chairman Jack Ma told reporters this week that Alibaba plans to aggressively expand in the United States and Europe after its initial public offering.
"We hope to become a truly global company," Ma told reporters in Hong Kong.
Alibaba is in the final few days of meetings with investors for what is shaping up to be the largest initial stock sale in U.S. history.
On Monday Alibaba raised the deal's price range to $66 to $68 a share up from $60 to $66 a share. Final pricing is set for Thursday and the first day of trading under the ticker symbol BABA for Friday.
Ma told hundreds of fund managers who packed the ballroom at the Ritz-Carlton hotel to see Alibaba as a technology company that "happens to be in China," according to the Financial Times.
He pointed to the growth in markets such as Russia where Alibaba is now the No 1 e-commerce website by monthly users.
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Speaking to investors in Singapore on Tuesday, Ma said he sees growth prospects for Alibaba in China, other Asian markets as well as Brazil and Russia, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Alibaba currently generates 93% of its earnings from China, says Max Wolff, chief economist at Manhattan Venture Partners.
"Generally before you become a massive publicly traded company with a valuation north of $150 billion, you have diversified your revenue stream internationally," Wolff said. "This is a one country story as of today. Obviously it's a big country, but it's still one country."
Alibaba clearly has global ambitions. And Silicon Valley is paying attention.
U.S. tech companies have a healthy respect for Alibaba, which has raised its profile in Silicon Valley with some high-profile investments in their backyard.
Guided by Michael Zeisser, a seasoned dealmaker from John Malone's Liberty Media, Alibaba paid more than $200 million for a 39% stake in Shoprunner, which competes with Amazon Prime. It picked up a $120 million stake in game developer Kabam. It also invested in ride-sharing mobile app Lyft, among others. And in June, Alibaba unveiled a U.S. shopping website 11 Main to test the U.S. online retail market.
But when it comes to conquering new markets, Wolff says he sees Alibaba targeting under-served emerging markets with less competition in Eastern Europe, Africa and Asia.
"Alibaba would have to work a lot harder, accept much lower margins and be more patient if it was competing with eBay and Amazon," he said.
—By Jessica Guynn, USA Today