Alibaba reports mobile revenue surges

Updated: 2016-08-12 05:08


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Alibaba Group Holding Ltd on Thursday reported revenue and earnings that easily topped expectations in the most recent quarter as the Chinese e-commerce giant continued to add users and drive mobile sales.

Despite fears of an economic slowdown in China, Alibaba has seen growth in sales and number of users.

For the June quarter, Alibaba reported 434 million annual active buyers, up 18 percent from a year earlier. Mobile monthly active users bounded up 39 percent to 427 million, helping mobile revenue more than double.

Streaming entertainment and cloud computing bolstered a resilient e-commerce business, driving revenue up 59 percent from a year earlier to $4.84 billion in the June quarter, beating analyst estimates. The result drove the stock to its highest in more than a year in pre-market trade.

Chairman Jack Ma has spent billions of dollars buying video website Youku Tudou, Southeast Asian e-commerce company Lazada Group SA and web browser UCWeb to make Alibaba less dependent on a slowing domestic economy. That has combined with a push into cloud computing to generate new growth for a company that dominates online shopping in China, and is cashing in on the country’s shift towards services from heavy industry.

"This quarter’s performance lifts investors doubt about its ability to maintain growth in its core e-commerce business," said Li Muzhi, a Hong Kong-based analyst at Arete Research Services LLP. "The business diversification in digital entertainment and cloud is icing on the cake."

Revenue from media and entertainment almost quadrupled while the innovation initiatives business, which includes its operating system and mapping service, posted a 30 percent jump. But losses from entertainment almost doubled as Alibaba spent more on content to lure customers to Youku Tudou and its fledgling over-the-top TV service.

International retail commerce revenue more than doubled on account of Lazada, which granted Alibaba access to major Southeast Asian markets.

Lazada, which at $1 billion is the company’s biggest overseas acquisition, was included in earnings for the first time and is expected to become a linchpin of Alibaba’s global expansion. The company on Thursday affirmed its target of 48 percent growth in full-year revenue. Inc, China's second biggest e-commerce company and Alibaba’s main rival in online shopping, reported revenue for the second quarter of 2016 rose 42 percent to $9.83 billion, within's forecast range. But the company is predicting an even sharper decline in growth for the third quarter, raising concerns that China's e-commerce sector is saturating.