Workers stand near the company logo at the Alibaba Group headquarters in Hangzhou, China.

HONG KONG – Alibaba is forecasting 45 to 49 percent revenue growth for the financial year 2018, its chief financial officer Maggie Wu said Thursday, more than 10 percentage points higher than the analysts’ consensus.

Alibaba offered the latest guidance at the first session of a two-day investors meeting at the tech firm’s Hangzhou, China-headquarters, with investors in the room cheering and clapping when the ambitious growth targets were announced.

“Last year, we forecasted 48 percent year-on-year growth, which was adjusted at the end of the year to 53 percent, and the result was growth of 56 percent,” Wu said, referring to the 158.3 billion renminbi, or $23.3 billion, it recorded for the year ended March 31.

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“Looking deeper, the eight percentage points are coming from our core China retail business,” she said, referring to last year’s figures. “When you think about it, the clicks are growing, the conversion number is growing, and why is that? It’s because we have more relevant content – and behind that is data technology we keep improving.

“So by the time we gave that 48 percent guidance, we did not really factor in all that development and growth and content in the technology we have made, such as personalization. It grew very fast and even exceeded our expectation.”

Alibaba founder Jack Ma is scheduled to speak on Friday afternoon and address questions on the weak performance of the company’s mobile operating system YunOS, which the firm said it expected to expand to at least a 25 percent market share last year.

To date, it has only achieved a paltry 2.2 percent penetration. The company is facing greater pressure to battle Tencent’s mobile dominance with its super app WeChat, a platform which is expanding further into commerce capabilities.

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