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Alibaba lifts revenue, but misses earnings expectations

Alibaba has reported US$5.6 billion in revenue for the March quarter, a 60 per cent increase from the corresponding period last year, lifting revenue for the full 2017 financial year to US$23 billion.

This is the highest growth rate since the e-commerce giant went public in 2014, even as earnings fell short of analysts expectations.

While analysts’ average earnings-per-share estimate was 4.51 yuan, the company posted an adjusted earnings-per-share of 4.35 yuan, according to Bloomberg, which cited tax costs and investment in the cloud computing business as factors.

Shares fell yesterday after the results were announced to a low of US$114, a 5.6 per cent drop, before recovering to US$121 today.

Net income for the quarter was US$1.4 billion, up 85 per cent from the previous corresponding period. Adjusted EBITDA was US$2.4 billion.

The company reported a 22 per cent year-on-year increase in the value of items sold through its e-commerce platforms in the 2017 financial year, which amounted to US$547 billion.

Nearly 80 per cent of that value (US$433 billion) can be attributed to mobile transactions, up from 65 per cent in the 2016 financial year.

The company has grown the number of mobile monthly active users on its China retail marketplaces to 507 million, while it claims 454 million annual active buyers. It has a combined 83 million annual active buyers on international platforms AliExpress and Lazada.

“Alibaba Group had another outstanding quarter and fiscal year, demonstrating our ability to successfully engage and monetize the half a billion consumers across our platforms,” said Alibaba CEO Daniel Zhang.

“Our core commerce segment continued its significant growth and strong cash flow at large scale, enabling our aggressive investment in cloud computing, digital media and entertainment to drive the digital transformation of the economy and high-quality consumption across China.”

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