Another blockbuster quarter for Alibaba as revenue surges 61%

Jon Russell

Alibaba's stellar financial performance continues unabated after the Chinese e-commerce giant again beat analyst expectations thanks to impressive growth in its core business at home.

The firm reported total revenue of RMB 55.1 billion ($8.3 billion), beating expectations of RMB 52.2 billion according to a Reuters poll with 61 percent growth. Net profit for the period increased by 146 percent to reach RMB 17.7 billion ($2.7 billion).

Alibaba raised its forecast for annual revenue growth from 49 percent to 53 percent as a result of an investment in logistics affiliate Cainiao which gave the firm a majority ownership.

Revenue from core commerce increased 63 percent year-over-year to RMB 46.5 billion ($7 billion), a jump of RMB 43 billion in the previous quarter. The quarter just gone is traditionally a quiet once as the firm prepares for the 11/11 shopping bonanza -- Alibaba grossed $17.79 billion in GMV on the day last year -- but Alibaba bucked that trend this time around.

Usage was up, too. Total annual users rose to 488 million in China, up 11 percent per year and five percent sequentially, and mobile monthly users hit 549 million, an increase of 22 percent year-on-year and four percent quarter-on-quarter.

CEO Daniel Zhang paid tribute to Alibaba's push into offline-to-online in China which has seen the firm roll out a facial recognition-based payment pilot and expand its 'hybrid' stores that combine e-commerce with offline shopping to 20 nationwide.

Alibaba is also seeing impressive growth in other areas, albeit that none are as lucrative as its Chinese commerce business.

Alibaba cloud is the best example. Revenue again nearly double in the last quarter to reach RMB 3 billion ($447 million), up from RMB 2.4 billion in the previous quarter when it hit one million customers for the first time. Overall, the cloud computing business recorded a RMB 697 million loss, or $105 million, which it put down to R&D having nearly reached breakeven in the previous quarter.

Revenue from overseas also grew, up 115 percent year-on-year to RMB 2.9 billion ($433 million), thanks primarily through Lazada in Southeast Asia and the international Aliexpress service.

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