Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. reported a 54% year-over-year increase in revenue in its fiscal third quarter ended Dec. 31 as China’s mostly mobile shoppers continued to flock to its giant online marketplaces, Taobao and Tmall.
A highlight of the quarter was the $17.4 billion worth of purchases on Alibaba’s shopping portals on Nov. 11, the annual Singles’ Day online shopping extravaganza in China, with 82% of purchases coming from mobile devices. That sales total is five times more than the $3.45 billion Adobe Digital Insights estimated for all U.S. e-retail sales on Cyber Monday 2016, the biggest U.S. web sales day of the holiday season.
Alibaba’s dominance of China e-commerce—its sites represents roughly 80% of all online retail purchases in the country—continues to provide a gusher of profits that the company is investing in cloud computing, entertainment, offline retail and other technology initiatives. The company said its core commerce segment produced $8.31 billion worth of net income in the first nine months of the current fiscal year. Even with major investments in other areas, Alibaba reported $5.55 billion in net income for the first three quarters of the year.
That gives the Chinese e-commerce giant plenty of cash for the U.S. investment that’s on the agenda after Alibaba executive chairman Jack Ma recently promised President Donald Trump that Alibaba would help create 1 million U.S. jobs. Alibaba plans to do that by helping U.S. businesses sell to Chinese online shoppers via the Taobao and Tmall marketplaces. The company is beginning to build out a new headquarters staff in New York City and reportedly plans a big event in the Midwest this spring to explain to U.S. companies how it will facilitate sales by U.S. businesses to Chinese web shoppers.
Alibaba officials said the third quarter revenue exceeded their projections, and that they are raising their projection for full fiscal 2017 revenue growth to 53% from 48%.
“Our robust December quarter demonstrates the strength of the Chinese consumer and Alibaba’s ability to create value across our vast ecosystem,” Alibaba CEO Daniel Zhang said in a statement accompanying today’s earnings release. “We are driving the age of ‘New Retail,’ which leverages big data and innovation to provide a seamless online and offline experience for nearly half a billion mobile monthly active users. This retail transformation will make it even easier and more efficient for brands and retailers to engage with these consumers anywhere, anytime.”
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 marketplaces Taobao and Tmall but also international shopping portals Alibaba.com and AliExpress, 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.
- Mobile active uses of its China retail marketplaces reached 493 million in December, an increase of 43 million over September. Consumers who made purchases during the 12-month period ended Dec. 31 increased 4 million to 443 million.
- Revenue from the commerce segment accounted for 87.5% of third quarter revenue. Cloud computing accounted for 3.3%; its entertainment segment, including the Youku Tudou video website, contributed 7.6% of revenue; and what the company calls “innovation initiatives,” such as its AutoNavi navigation system and its lending to small businesses, accounted for 1.6%.
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 billion 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.