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Alibaba profit up 37pc but revenue growth eases

01 February 2019

Alibaba's cloud revenue rose 84% in the December quarter, partly due to the decision to take control of delivery network Cainiao, video platform Youku, and meals-on-demand service Alibaba reported its slowest quarterly revenue growth since 2016 but otherwise cheered investors with its fourth-quarter report.

As of 12:48 p.m. on Wednesday, Alibaba shares traded in ADR form on the NYSE, were up $7.02, or 4.47% to $163.90 apiece.

The positive result by Alibaba which is the first of China's internet giants to report its earnings may bring a much-needed boost to China's slowing economy.

Revenue from its core commerce business increased 40 percent to CNY 102.84 billion, down from 56 percent annual growth in the previous quarter.

The company's net profit grew to 33.0 billion yuan ($4.9 billion) in the October-December third quarter, compared to 24.1 billion yuan over the same period in 2017.

Meanwhile, its record-breaking Singles Day event proved it has muscle, and its Ant Financial and Alibaba Cloud "are the two most likely to move the needle in the foreseeable future", according to the UBS team. The company said it has since repurchased 10.86 million of its ADSs for $1.6 billion.

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Anticipating headwinds from economic uncertainty, Alibaba had lowered its revenue outlook for its financial year ending March even before the top sales season.

China's economic growth in 2018 slowed to its weakest in nearly 30 years, with growth expected to decline even further this year. "T$3 he healthy balance sheet of Chinese households and the increasing availability of credit will fuel consumption", he also said.

On Tuesday, China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) said revenue growth rates for domestic technology companies did not rise in 2018, and that consumer spending had slowed amid increased economic pressures.

The company also announced that CTO Jeff Zhang has been put in charge of Alibaba Cloud, in addition to his existing duties.

Alibaba has grown at a breakneck pace since it was founded 20 years ago, establishing itself as the largest e-commerce company not just in China, but in the world.

Alibaba profit up 37pc but revenue growth eases