Chinese online giant Alibaba has filed documents for its IPO in New York, which is expected to be one of the largest in history.

Alibaba, which is expected to be valued at between $115bn(£68bn) and $245bn (£144bn), said it was seeking to raise only $1bn (£589m) from the float but analysts expect the figure to rise to $15bn once banks start testing investor appetite.

The IPO documents revealed that last year, the value of all merchandise sold on Alibaba’s various platforms was $248bn (£146m) – more than Amazon and eBay combined.

The Chinese ecommerce giant did not reveal the number of shares it intends to sell or their price range.

Alibaba was founded by Jack Ma 15 years ago and has become the biggest online retailer in China. UK retailers including Burberry, Karen Millen and Asos sell on its Tmall platform.

In the nine months to the end of December 2013, Alibaba generated a net profit of $2.9bn (£1.7bn).

Analysts predicted that the IPO will attract major interest as would-be investors will hope Alibaba can replicate its Chinese success on a global scale.

Yahoo is a major shareholder in the firm, holding 22.6%. It paid $1bn (£589m) for a 40% stake in 2005 but sold almost half of it back to Alibaba for $6.3bn (£3.7bn) in May 2012.

According to an agreement between the two firms, Yahoo has to either sell a part of its remaining stake in Alibaba back to the Chinese firm ahead of the share sale, or include its shares in those being sold to investors. Yahoo’s stake is thought to be worth around $26bn (£15.3bn).

Alibaba’s operation also includes a cloud computing business and a group buying website. Its online payments processing network, Alipay, was hived off in 2011 and is not a part of the listing.

Alibaba did not reveal which US exchange, the Nasdaq or New York Stock Exchange, it is looking to list on.