China e-commerce giant Alibaba's revenue jump 32 percent

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba on Tuesday reported revenue in the September quarter rose 32 percent year-on-year, beating market expectations despite slowing growth in the world's second largest economy.

Revenue reached 3.49 billion US dollars (22.17 billion yuan) for the three months ended in September, according to a company statement, compared with a 21.3 billion yuan median forecast by analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News.

Transactions on the platforms of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba surged 28 percent in the September quarter, the company said Tuesday, despite slowing growth in the world's second largest economy.

Alibaba's closely-watched gross merchandise volume (GMV) -- a measure of value for online sales -- was 112 billion US dollars (713 billion yuan) in the three months ended in September, the company said in a statement.

"This was a great quarter for Alibaba Group, with strong growth across the board and particular out-performance in mobile," Alibaba chief executive officer Daniel Zhang said.

After years of breakneck growth, China's Communist leaders are looking to transition the economy to a "new normal" of slower, more sustainable expansion, driven by consumer demand rather than the investment and exports of the past.

Companies such as Alibaba -- which is often compared to Amazon and eBay of the United States, and holds more than 90 percent of the consumer-to-consumer market in China -- are crucial to the process.

But global markets have been roiled over concerns that China's new economy is not growing quickly enough to make up for stagnation in older industries. Alibaba's New York-listed stock has fallen nearly 40 percent since November as a proxy for its home economy.

The GMV growth figure represented a slowdown from the 34 percent recorded in the quarter ended in June. China logged its worst economic performance since the global financial crisis in the third quarter with gross domestic product rising just 6.9 percent -- its lowest level in six years, prompting the government to cut interest rates just days ago.

"Alibaba's markets in first- and second-tier, as well third-tier cities are now saturated and facing fierce competition from other e-commerce providers," Zhang Yi, chief executive of consultancy iiMedia Research Group, told AFP before the results were released.

"Consumption is slowing down because the economic downturn has affected people's salary levels," he said. Alibaba's Taobao platform dominates the consumer-to-consumer market, while its Tmall platform is believed to command more than half the Chinese market for business-to-consumer transactions.

Revenue beats expectations

Alibaba's Taobao platform dominates the consumer-to-consumer market, while its Tmall platform is believed to command more than half the Chinese market for business-to-consumer transactions. The company said it had 386 million annual active buyers on its China retail marketplaces at the end of September, up 19 million from the end of June.

Revenue in the September quarter rose 32 percent year-on-year to $3.49 billion (22.17 billion yuan), Alibaba said, beating expectations for 21.3 billion yuan in a survey of analysts by Bloomberg News. Net profit excluding investment gains surged 36 percent to $1.46 billion (9.25 billion yuan), the company said. Analysts said Alibaba might perform even better in the current quarter with the inclusion of the November 11 shopping festival -- China's biggest online shopping day, which last year exceeded the combined value of Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the United States.

"The shopping festival is more international this year with more high-end producers But it still faces pressure as growth of e-commerce decelerates and the larger environment for e-commerce weakens," Guotai Junan Securities analyst Ray Zhao told AFP. With deep pockets, Alibaba is making a string of acquisitions as it tries to develop beyond its traditional transaction platforms into a broader Internet company.

Earlier this month it made a multi-billion-dollar offer to buy the outstanding shares of online video company Youku Tudou, China's equivalent of YouTube. But investors have sold the stock down 36 percent from its peak in November, far from the lofty valuations it commanded when it listed last year as the world's biggest ever public offering. It closed at 76.35 dollar on Monday. (AFP)

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