The Alibaba headquarters.

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. is on a roll. 

China’s largest e-commerce company released earnings Friday before the bell, improving on both top and bottom lines. 

For the three-month period ending Sept. 30, 2019, sales increased 40 percent year-over-year to $16.6 million, or 119 billion Chinese yuan. Net income attributable to ordinary shareholders was $10.1 million, or 72.5 million Chinese yuan. 

Alibaba Group celebrated its 20th anniversary in September, marking an important milestone on our 102-year journey to make it easy to do business anywhere,” Daniel Zhang, executive chairman and chief executive officer of Alibaba Group, said in his prepared remarks. “Our digital economy continues to thrive and prosper. We aim to serve over 1 billion annual active consumers and help our merchants achieve over 10 trillion [yuan] in annual gross merchandise volume by end of fiscal 2024. We will continue to invest in the user experience and innovative technology to create new value for consumers, as well as the millions of enterprises undergoing digital transformation in the new digital economy.” 

Alibaba’s annual active consumers also grew to 693 million people, an increase of 19 million from the 12-month period that ended June 30, 2019. And, in September, Alibaba received a one-time financial gain of $9.7 billion, or 69.2 billion Chinese yuan, after being a stakeholder in Ant Financial, an online payment platform. 

Still, the results may not be enough to stave off all investor fears. The stock was down slightly in pre-market hours Friday, creeping back up into the green shortly after. Some investors continue to fear the ongoing trade tensions between China and the U.S. Others worry about a potential slowdown in Chinese consumer spending. A number of retailers, including Kate Spade and Coach parent company Tapestry and Lululemon, have expansion plans in the works throughout China. 

Last quarter also marks the first quarter without Alibaba founder Jack Ma — at least partially. Ma, who founded the company in 1999, stepped down Sept. 10 to make way for Zhang. Alibaba, which began in Ma’s apartment, has grown to China’s largest e-commerce company, which includes retail, digital media, entertainment, logistics, payments, marketing services, clouding computing, local services and more.

“Our mission has not changed since Day One. It is to make it easy to do business anywhere,” Zhang told analysts on the conference call Friday, his first call as the ceo. “Our consumers, merchants and partners are entering a new journey in the digital era. We will continue to create value for them by leveraging the power of data technology to make it easy to do business through them anywhere for the decades to come.”

Zhang reiterated Alibaba’s plans to serve more than 1 billion consumers with sales of at least 1 trillion Chinese yuan by 2024 and said the current geopolitical tensions with the U.S. are “both a challenge and opportunity for the Chinese economy and finding more opportunities in such an uncertain environment is the key to our business and strategy.”

The company’s next test will be Singles Day, an annual shopping extravaganza, which takes place Nov. 11. More than 200,000 brands will participate in the annual shopping event, with the debut of about 1 million new products and roughly 22,000 brands appearing on Alibaba’s Tmall, the online shopping platform. American singer Taylor Swift has been hired to headline the star-studded gala at the Shanghai’s Mercedes-Benz Arena to commence the event. 

“We delivered a strong quarter,” Maggie Wu, chief financial officer of Alibaba Group, said in her prepared remarks. “With sustained consumer engagement and spending across the Alibaba economy, we have continued our revenue and profit growth, as well as strong free cash flow that enable us to invest in long-term growth.”

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