Alibaba founder Jack Ma

BEIJING — Internet juggernaut Alibaba Group reported quarterly net income that fell 33 percent even as it logged better-than-expected revenue growth of 61 percent for the quarter ended March 31.

The Chinese firm has delivered breakneck growth rates with consecutive quarterly revenue gains of over 50 percent for two years, and management is forecasting even further acceleration for the upcoming fiscal year.

“We expect overall revenue growth above 60 percent, reflecting our confidence in our core business as well as positive momentum in new businesses,” said Maggie Wu, chief financial officer of Alibaba Group.

Net income for the quarter was 6.64 billion renminbi, or $1.06 billion. The company attributed the decline to a high base, due to the sale of certain investments in the same quarter of 2017. “Excluding non-recurring disposal gains, net income in the quarter ended March 31, 2018 would have increased by 37 percent,” Alibaba said.

The company has also been spending heavily–from the buy out of Ant Financial, food delivery service worth $9.5 billion to a further $2 billion investment in its Southeast Asian platform, Lazada, and acquisition of logistics arm Cainiao.

However, the company stated in its earnings presentation that “the investment in user and user experience resulted in increasing market leadership and greater user growth.”

Revenue for the quarter increased 61 percent from the year-earlier period to 61.93 billion renminbi, while full year revenue grew 58 percent 250.26 billion renminbi, or $39.89 billion. Yearly net income attributable to ordinary shareholders was 63.99 billion renminbi, or $10.2 billion.

Its core commerce arena, which includes Tmall, Taobao, supermarket chain Hema, and brick-and-mortar stores Intime Retail, among others, grew 62 percent year-over-year to 51.29 billion, or $8.18 billion. On a yearly basis, the business segment rose 60 percent year-over-year to 214.02 billion renminbi, or $34.12 billion.

Gross merchandise value transacted on the China retail marketplaces was 4.820 trillion renminbi or $768 billion, representing a year-over-year growth rate of 28 percent. Annual active consumers on China retail marketplaces reached 552 million, growing 98 million.

Karen Chan, consumer analyst at Jefferies, said that while Alibaba dominates online, it has significant room to expand with respect to omnichannel retail.

“With Alibaba accounting for 77 percent of e-commerce market share but only 13 percent of overall retail sales, we see a long runway for growth in digitalizing offline retail,” Chan said.

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