China e-commerce giant Alibaba`s quarterly revenue leaps 39%

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba`s revenue surged 39 percent year-on-year in the first three months of 2016, the company said Thursday, its fastest growth in the last four quarters.

AFP| Last Updated: May 05, 2016, 18:26 PM IST
China e-commerce giant Alibaba`s quarterly revenue leaps 39%

Shanghai: Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba`s revenue surged 39 percent year-on-year in the first three months of 2016, the company said Thursday, its fastest growth in the last four quarters.

Revenue hit 24.18 billion yuan ($3.75 billion) for the three months to March, it said in its quarterly results announcement, defying both China`s economic slowdown and increasing competition in the world`s biggest e-commerce market.

The quarterly revenue figure beat analysts` average estimates of a 33 percent rise, according to forecasts compiled by Bloomberg News.

"Our excellent results this quarter reflect the unique strength of our core e-commerce business despite challenging economic conditions," Alibaba`s chief financial officer Maggie Wu said in the statement.

Alibaba is China`s dominant player in online commerce with its Taobao platform estimated to hold more than 90 percent of the consumer-to-consumer market, and its Tmall platform is believed to have over half of business-to-consumer transactions.

The company is considered a proxy for the Chinese economy, which expanded at its slowest rate in seven years during the first quarter of this year, rising an annual 6.7 percent.

But Alibaba`s net income attributable to shareholders rose 85 percent year-on-year in the quarter ended in March to $832 million, the company said. 

For the full financial year ended in March, net income rocketed 196 percent to $11.08 billion.

"Alibaba is still a company that can make money," Tiffany Zheng, an analyst at consultancy Business Connect China, told AFP before the results were announced.

The company`s closely-watched gross merchandise volume (GMV) -- a measure of value for online sales -- rose 24 percent year-on-year to $115 billion for the quarter ended in March and stood at $485 billion for the whole fiscal year.

Alibaba had already announced that full-year GMV surpassed 3.0 trillion yuan, which the company claimed made it the world`s biggest retailer. 

"Its ability to leverage its stable GMV growth for revenue has increased after a series of acquisitions," Zheng added.

Alibaba has been seeking to expand outside its core e-commerce business, in sectors ranging from sports to entertainment.

In April, Alibaba also acquired a controlling stake in Southeast Asian online shopping platform Lazada for $1.0 billion to expand outside China.

Alibaba and its financial affiliate Ant last month invested $1.25 billion in a food delivery firm as it boosts online-to-offline business in the competitive Chinese market.

There is speculation that Alibaba founder Jack Ma, China`s second richest person with a net worth of $32.9 billion, plans to buy Italian football club AC Milan, though he has joked about the reports.

Such a purchase "would expand the impact of Alibaba`s brand in Europe and even the world, which would help boost the execution of Alibaba`s globalisation strategy," Gao Shuang, an analyst at the government-backed China Internet Network Information Center, told AFP.