July 31, 2014 12:00 am JST

Will Alibaba's winning formula translate abroad?

In just 15 years, Alibaba Group founder Jack Ma Yun has built an online empire that boasts sales of $8.44 billion. China's largest e-tailer has proven itself at home and is now turning its gaze to foreign markets, as reflected in its much-hyped plan to go public in New York. But even as the company continues to reel in customers and investors, questions are growing over how well-equipped Alibaba really is to repeat its success abroad.