Alibaba Group may be known these days mostly for its huge retail online marketplaces, but its roots are in international business-to-business sales. And its revenue from global B2B e-commerce continues to grow, up 9% year over year to $224 million for the fiscal third quarter ended Dec. 31.

Alibaba’s international B2B e-commerce marketplace is the company’s namesake website,, which company founder and executive chairman Jack Ma launched as his first marketplace in 1999, mainly for enabling Chinese manufacturers to sell to overseas buyers. Alibaba attributes the recent growth on the site to increased usage of the services it offers to online exporters and importers. Among the services it offers to the millions of companies that it says buy and sell on are the ability of buyers to request price quotations from multiple suppliers, verification of trading partners’ identities and assistance in finding appropriate suppliers.

Alibaba also operates as a B2B marketplace for buyers and sellers based in China. Revenue from increased 30% in the third quarter, to $218 million. The company attributes that growth primarily to an increase in the number of registered customers on 1688. and each account for about 3% of Alibaba’s overall revenue.

Alibaba also increased revenue in the quarter from its cloud services business, which provides internet-based computing and data storage. It says revenue from cloud services increased 115% to $254 million, driven mostly by a 100% increase in its number of cloud customers to 765,000 and increased usage of such offerings as content delivery and database services.


For the fiscal third quarter ended Dec. 31, Alibaba reported:

  • Total revenue of 53,248 billion yuan ($7.669 billion), an increase of 54.6% from 34,543 billion yuan in the same quarter a year ago. (Year-over-year increases in current dollar terms would be lower because of the falling value of the yuan versus the dollar in the past year.)
  • Revenue from its core commerce properties, primarily its Chinese retail marketplaces Taobao and Tmall but also wholesale portals and, of 46.576 billion yuan ($6.708 billion), up 45.0% from 32,111 billion yuan a year earlier.
  • Net income from its commerce properties of 27.439 billion yuan ($3.952 billion), an increase of 45.0% from 18,928 billion yuan in the prior-year quarter.

For the first nine months of fiscal 2017, Alibaba reported:

  • Total revenue of 119,694 billion yuan ($17.240 billion), up 55.5% from 76,959 billion yuan a year earlier.
  • Commerce revenue of 102,310 yuan ($14.736 billion), an increase of 44.3% from 70,880 billion yuan.
  • Net income of 38,523 billion yuan ($5.548 billion), an increase of 60.6% from 23,990 billion yuan. Net income from the commerce segment of 57,680 billion yuan ($8.308 billion), up 42.7% from 40,420 yuan.

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