Top 10 Largest Global IPOs of All Time

Alibaba Group’s staggering initial public offering (IPO) of $25 billion shattered all records and became the largest IPO ever. But how does the Alibaba number compare to other massive IPOs? Here, we've compiled a list of the 10 biggest IPOs of all time. The list may surprise you. Only one U.S.‑based company made the top five (hint: it wasn’t Facebook, now Meta). Chinese companies comprise three of the top five IPOs.

Key Takeaways

  • Companies go public via an IPO to raise capital for their businesses, with some IPOs raking in billions of dollars.
  • Here, we list 10 of the most successful IPOs in history.
  • Three of the top 10 spots belong to Chinese companies, including Alibaba at #1.

1. Alibaba Group Holding Limited

Alibaba Group Holding Limited (NYSE: BABA), a diversified online e-commerce company based in China, went public on September 18, 2014, at a whopping $21.8 billion. Four days later, underwriters exercised an option to sell more shares, bringing the total IPO to $25 billion. Although technology companies traditionally list on NASDAQ, Alibaba chose the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) for its debut and had its IPO underwritten primarily by Credit Suisse. 

2. Agricultural Bank of China Ltd.

Agricultural Bank of China Ltd., also know as AgBank, is the second-largest IPO of all time. AgBank went public on July 7, 2010, raising $19.2 billion. Similar to Alibaba, AgBank increased the size of its IPO to $22.1 billion. AgBank is a member of the "Big Four" banks in China. 

3. Industrial and Commercial Bank of China

ICBC Bank, or Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange and the Hong Kong Stock Exchange), went public on October 20, 2006, fetching a total of almost $19.1 billion. On January 19, 2007, ICBC exercised an overallotment option that allowed the company to lift its IPO to $21.9 billion, making it the world's third-largest IPO. 

4. General Motors Company

General Motors (NYSE: GM) debuted on November 16, 2010, after emerging from a bankruptcy filing one year earlier. This U.S.-based car manufacturer raised $20.1 billion in its initial public offering. It is the largest IPO for any U.S.‑based company. General Motors owns Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, and Cadillac.

5. NTT DOCOMO, Inc.

NTT DOCOMO, a Tokyo‑based telecommunications player, went to the public market on October 22, 1998, raising just under $18.4 billion. NTT was underwritten by Goldman Sachs Asia and was previously listed on the NYSE. On April 13, 2018, NTT officially delisted their American Depository Shares (ADS) from the NYSE. 

6. Visa Inc.

Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) is a debit and credit card processing company that entered the public market on March 18, 2008, and raised roughly $17.3 billion—no small feat during a global financial crisis.

7. AIA Group Limited

AIA (OTC: AAIGF), a Hong Kong-based investment and insurance company, was offered to the public on October 21, 2010. It raised over $20.5 billion and became the largest independent, publicly listed pan-Asian life insurance group. 

8. Enel

Enel S.p.A.(OTC: ENLAY) went public on November 1, 1999, after it raised almost $17.4 billion. This Italian company competes in the gas and electric market in Europe and the Americas. Enel works in 34 countries and has 72 million end-users around the world.

9. Facebook

Facebook (NASDAQ: FB), now Meta, was one of the most hyped IPOs in history. It listed on May 1, 2012, and raised just over $16 billion. This social media technology company's launch was riddled with trading issues and questionable information-sharing accusations. As of June 2018, Facebook has, on average, 1.47 billion daily active users.

10. Deutsche Telekom AG

Deutsche Telekom AG (OTC: DTEGY) is a German telecommunications company that raised a little over $13 billion on November 17, 1996. As of March 2020, Deutsche Telekom AG has 184 million mobile customers, 27.5 million fixed-network lines, and more than 22 million broadband lines. It owns T-mobile and T-Systems.

The Bottom Line

The much-hyped Alibaba IPO was the largest of all time. A look back at the top 10 global IPOs in history shows that Asian companies dominate. Visa, Facebook, and General Motors are the only U.S.‑based companies on the top 10 global IPO list.

Article Sources

Investopedia requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy.
  1. Morgan Stanley. "Alibaba Turns to Morgan Stanley in Largest-Ever IPO." Accessed March 4, 2020.

  2. Wall Street Journal. "Alibaba to List on the NYSE." Accessed March 4, 2020.

  3. Alibaba Group. "Alibaba Group Announces Exercise of Underwriters' Option to Purchase Additional ADSs." Accessed March 4, 2020.

  4. Agricultural Bank of China. "Company Overview." Accessed March 4, 2020.

  5. The New York Times. "China Bank I.P.O. Raises $19 Billion." Accessed March 4, 2020.

  6. The Wall Street Journal. "AgBank Finally Takes IPO Crown." Accessed March 4, 2020.

  7. Industrial and Commercial Bank of China. "ICBC Business Review." Accessed March 4, 2020.

  8. The Wall Street Journal. "ICBC Completes World's Biggest IPO." Accessed March 4, 2020.

  9. General Motors. "GM to Launch Largest U.S. Initial Public Offering of 2010 at the NYSE." Accessed March 4, 2020.

  10. The Wall Street Journal. "NTT DoCoMo IPO Lifts Shares." Accessed March 4, 2020.

  11. NTT DoCoMo. "Press Release: Notice Regarding the Effective Delisting of American Depositary Shares ("ADSs") from the New York Stock Exchange ("NYSE")." Accessed March 4, 2020.

  12. VISA Inc. "Visa Inc. Prices Initial Public Offering." Accessed March 4, 2020.

  13. AIA Group Limited. "AIA’S Successful Listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange." Accessed March 4, 2020.

  14. CNN Money. "Enel: Not Electrifying — Enel debut fails to generate interest" Accessed March 4, 2020.

  15. Enel. "Stock Information." Accessed March 4, 2020.

  16. Enel. "Our Story." Accessed March 4, 2020.

  17. Facebook. "Facebook Announces Pricing of Initial Public Offering." Accessed March 4, 2020.

  18. CNN Money. "Facebook trading sets record IPO volume." Accessed March 4, 2020.

  19. Facebook. "Facebook Reports Second Quarter 2018 Results." Accessed March 4, 2020.

  20. Deutsche Telecom. "IPOs -- Initial Public Offerings." Accessed March 4, 2020.

  21. Deutsche Telekom. "Company Profile." Accessed March 4, 2020.