Stock exchanges - additional information
Stock exchanges are an important part of the free market economic system and are the most important component of the stock market. A stock exchange provides the setting in which stock brokers, sellers, buyers and traders can be brought together to take part in the sale of shares, bonds, derivatives and other securities.
The core function of a stock exchange is to enable the fair and orderly trading, as well as the provision of price information of any securities being traded on that exchange. Originally the exchanges were physical places (in some world locations the goods are still traded over-the-counter) but with time, they took the shape of an electronic platform.
In order that company shares may be bought, traded and sold on a stock exchange, the company is required to have undergone an initial public offering process (IPO) on that particular exchange. The initial public offering of Alibaba Group Holding, a Chinese company operating in the e-commerce sector, on the New York Stock Exchange in September 2014, was the largest listing in the United States since 1996. The IPO of Alibaba Group Holding raised approximately 21.77 billion U.S. dollars.