HONG KONG — JD.com reported its first quarterly profit on Monday, earning 355.7 million renminbi, or $51.7 million for the three months ended March 31.
The figure compares to a net loss of 867.3 million renminbi, or $125.6 million, for the same period last year, the Chinese commerce company reported Monday.
First-quarter revenue grew by 42.1 percent year-over-year. Net revenue was 76.2 billion renminbi, or $11.1 billion at current exchange, of which JD Mall contributed 75.1 billion renminbi, or $10.9 billion.
The firm expects to continue growing at a strong if slightly slower pace in the coming quarter, predicting net revenue growth of 35 to 39 percent on a year-over-year basis. Excluding their noncore JD Finance division, revenue growth is estimated to fall between 33 and 37 percent.
“We are obviously pleased with the healthy profit achieved in the first quarter,” JD.com’s chief financial officer Sidney Huang said. “However, we would like to caution our investors that our Q1 results are not necessarily an indication of our long-range earnings in the remainder of 2017. New business initiatives, an aggressive expansion plan and the intense competition in the Chinese e-commerce market had Huang predict that “quarterly earnings will likely be lower in one or more of the next few quarters.”
Annual active customer accounts grew 40 percent to 236.5 million for the year, up from 169.1 million a year ago. Fulfilled orders increased similarly, growing 39 percent to 477.1 million transactions from 342.1 million. Mobile shopping accounted for 81 percent of sales, up from 56 percent last year.
Fashion is taking a more prominent role in JD.com’s growth. The company recently appointed Ding Xia as its new head of its fashion business, overseeing a team of 1,000, with an eye to court Western brands to the site. In the last quarter, skin-care brand Avène and three brands under Giorgio Armani Group — EA7 Emporio Armani, Armani Jeans and Emporio Armani Underwear — launched flagships on JD.com.
In April, JD.com became a member of the American Apparel and Footwear Association, a first for a Chinese e-commerce company, vowing to cooperate with global fashion brands to protect intellectual property on its platforms. That stands in stark contrast to its biggest rival, Alibaba, which the AAFA has soundly criticized. However, after AAFA campaigned successfully to have the U.S. Trade Representative Office return Alibaba to its notorious markets list in December, Alibaba has become more vocal about its anticounterfeiting measures.
JD.com had about 120,000 merchants on its online marketplace as of April 30 and 122,405 full-time employees as of March 31.