China’s Alibaba trumped analysts’ expectations with a 42 per cent year-on-year jump in quarterly revenues to Rmb114.92bn ($16.3bn), a day after its rival Tencent disappointed the market by posting more modest growth.
Alibaba’s roots in ecommerce have allowed it to benefit from the rise in online shopping, a sector subject to less regulatory pressure than gaming and messaging, which are Tencent’s biggest businesses.
The robust numbers are the last to be reported before founder Jack Ma hands over the reins as chairman to Daniel Zhang, chief executive officer, next month, part of a changing of the guard that has been accompanied by a broader reshuffle among the top ranks of the two-decade-old company.
这是阿里巴巴的创始人马云(Jack Ma)交棒之前的最后一次季报。下月，他将把公司董事长职位移交给首席执行官张勇(Daniel Zhang)，这家成立了20年的公司正在进行更广泛的高层改组。
Net profit attributable to shareholders was Rmb21.25bn in the three months to the end of June. This far exceeded the previous year’s figure of Rmb8.68bn, which was heavily dented by employee share compensation from payments affiliate Ant Financial following a fundraising that ratcheted up its valuation.
Revenues from cloud computing, a key area of growth for both Alibaba and its US peer Amazon, was up 66 per cent at Rmb7.8bn, though the unit continues to lose money at a rate of 5 cents for every dollar.
Alibaba’s costs and expenses, excluding share-based compensation, edged up in the last quarter from 70 per cent of revenues to 73 per cent. However, chief financial officer Maggie Wu nodded to a new mood of financial discipline, echoing the sentiments of Tencent after its results on Wednesday, and noted that Alibaba had begun putting more emphasis on “efficiency of spending” in areas including marketing and headcount.
Steven Zhu, analyst at Pacific Epoch, noted that past acquisitions — such as food-delivery service Ele.me, which was consolidated in May last year — had helped drive revenue growth this quarter. But, he added, “these past two quarters, there [haven’t] been so [many] new acquisitions, so I think it will . . . slow down in the future.”
弘亚世代(Pacific Epoch)的分析师Steven Zhu指出，阿里巴巴之前的收购——如去年5月并购送餐集团饿了么(Ele.me)——推动了该季度的营收增长。然而，他补充道，“前两个季度阿里巴巴不再如此频繁地收购新企业，因此，我认为其营收增长……未来会放缓。”
Alibaba boasts a large portfolio of investments and, like its peers, has in the past spent heavily on subsidies to woo users amid escalating competition in areas such payments.
In cloud computing, where it preceded Tencent by a number of years, Alibaba has revised earlier efforts to go it alone by partnering with software providers such as Salesforce — a tie-up that was announced last month.
Alibaba is planning to raise up to $20bn on the Hong Kong stock market, but some analysts say that the current market volatility, trade tensions and conflicts between police and protesters in Hong Kong may prompt it to defer the listing.