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The Red-Hot Race for the Next Alibaba

The race among investors to find the next Alibaba is looking a little frenzied.

Investors have driven up the price of fast-growing mobile companies in India and China, hoping to find the next breakout company from Asia with global potential.

The latest example: mobile shopping service Koudai, which late last year closed a roughly $500 million financing that valued the company at $3 billion. The round was led by hedge fund Coatue Management. (Tiger Global, DST, Warburg Pincus and Vy Capital are also investors.)

The valuation was more than double the $1.2 billion the Beijing-based company received in a round it announced just a few months earlier in which Tencent Holdings invested. The frenzy has been fueled by the growing volume of sales through Koudai’s platform; those sales ended the year at a forward run rate of $8 billion, and the rate now exceeds $10 billion, according to people who have seen the numbers.

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“Seeing SoftBank and DST make money from Alibaba, it is a risk people are willing to take.”