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Alibaba Updates Growth Profile

Chinese Internet giant counts 255 million active buyers in home market.

Alibaba Group pulled back the curtain a little more in a regulatory filing Monday, revealing a company that is gaining momentum as it barrels toward a potentially blockbuster initial public offering on Wall Street this year.

This story first appeared in the June 17, 2014 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The Chinese Web giant told the Securities and Exchange Commission that it had 255 million active buyers in its home retail marketplaces as of March 31. That was a gain of 48.3 percent over a year earlier and marked an acceleration from growth of 44.4 percent during the quarter ended Dec. 31.

For the year ended March 31, the company’s profits jumped 175 percent to $3.71 billion on revenue growth of 52 percent, to $8.44 billion.

The company’s three main marketplaces — Taobao, Tmall and Juhuasuan — facilitated the sales of goods with a total gross market value of $270 billion last year.

Alibaba is hoping to bring some of that might to the U.S. with 11 Main, an online site for merchants that bowed this month.

The company is led by lead founder Jack Ma and seen as going public in the U.S., at least in part, to adopt a structure that will give its leadership continued control as other shareholders jump in.

The filing detailed who would join Ma in the 27-person Alibaba Partnership, which will elect a simple majority of the company’s board members. Most of the partners work at the company. The partnership has an average age of just less than 43 and is comprised of nine women and 18 men.