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Chinese giant Alibaba’s revenue jumps 32%

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Shanghai/ AFP

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba saw its revenue jump 32 percent year-on-year for the quarter ending in December, it said in a statement, despite slowing growth in the world’s second-largest economy.
Alibaba, which dominates the consumer-to-consumer market in China, said revenue reached $5.33 billion (34.54 billion yuan) in the December quarter, beating an average forecast of 33.2 billion yuan in a survey of analysts by Bloomberg News.
Investors have hammered the New York-listed shares of Alibaba as a proxy for China’s falling growth, weakening currency and domestic stock market turmoil.
China’s economy grew 6.9 percent in 2015, the slowest rate since 1990. Fourth-quarter growth alone slowed to 6.8 percent, its worst since the global financial crisis in early 2009.
“Alibaba Group had an outstanding quarter, reaching a milestone of over 400 million annual active buyers and continuing our unrivalled leadership in mobile,” Alibaba chief executive Daniel Zhang said in the statement.
Alibaba said its net income attributable to shareholders more than doubled, surging 111 percent on the year to $1.93 billion for the three-month period. Its closely-watched gross merchandise volume (GMV) — a measure of value for online sales — was $149 billion for the period, up 23 percent year-on-year.
The quarter included China’s November 11 ‘Singles Day’, said to be the world’s biggest online shopping spree, when Alibaba saw $14.3 billion worth of goods settled through its online payments unit.
But analysts said the company could come under pressure in future, even as it seeks to grow overseas business and diversify outside e-commerce.
“Overall, Alibaba will probably not be able to enjoy the same high growth rate after the November 11 shopping festival as it did in the past one or two years,” Internet consultancy iResearch analyst Zhou Xiaoqian told AFP ahead of the results release.
“The e-commerce industry in China has reached a mature stage… The growth will gradually slow down and it’s inevitable,”
she said.
The company had 407 million annual active buyers on its China retailmarketplaces by the end of December, compared to 386 million at the end of September.
Alibaba is making a string of investments as it tries to develop beyond its traditional e-commerce business into a broader Internet company.
“We remain focused on our top strategic priorities, including global imports, rural expansion, increasing our footprint in first-tier Chinese cities and building a world-class cloud computing business,” chief executive Zhang said.
In December, it bought Hong Kong newspaper the South China Morning Post, though the deal raised worries the purchase by a mainland Chinese company could erode editorial independence.
In October, it made a multi-billion-dollar offer to buy the outstanding shares of online video company Youku Tudou, China’s equivalent of YouTube.

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