Employees stand on a logo of Alibaba in this file picture.

Shanghai - The highly-anticipated US stock offer by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba will take place after September 1, the official Xinhua news agency on Friday quoted an anonymous source as saying.

The source said the roadshow for the initial public offering (IPO), which could rival Facebook's flotation, was originally scheduled for late July but would be postponed until after the US Labor Day holiday, Xinhua reported from the eastern city of Hangzhou, where Alibaba is headquartered.

“If not delayed, the roadshow - to last about two weeks - may coincide with Wall Street's traditional vacation time,” the source was quoted as saying.

“Alibaba does not want to make the IPO process too hasty.”

There had been market speculation Alibaba was aiming for its New York Stock Exchange listing on August 8, since the Chinese for that date is “ba ba” which is both a lucky number and the sound of its name, albeit different characters.

Analysts say the IPO could raise around $15 billion or even more, putting it on par with Facebook's $16 billion IPO in 2012, and value the firm from $100 billion to $200 billion or higher.

Alibaba is often described as China's version of Amazon or eBay, since it has elements of both those firms.

It operates China's most popular internet retail platform, Taobao, which is estimated to hold more than 90 percent of the online market for consumer-to-consumer transactions.

Founder Jack Ma set up Alibaba in 1999, convincing friends to fund him with $60,000, by starting with a platform for Chinese manufacturers to connect with foreign buyers and later launching flagship site Taobao in 2003. - Sapa-AFP