Alibaba's sales increase when people buy online during blocking

(Reuters) – Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (BABA.N) released revenue and profits on Friday beating forecasts in the fourth quarter, as more people bought essentials online due to coronavirus blocks.

ARCHIVE PHOTO: An Alibaba Group logo is seen at an exhibition during the World Intelligence Congress in Tianjin, China, May 16, 2019. REUTERS / Jason Lee / File Photo

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While people stayed indoors and physical stores remained closed during the health crisis, online orders increased, with the company's main trading business rising almost 19% to 93.87 billion yuan ($ 13 , 16 billion) in the quarter.

Revenue in its cloud computing business increased by about 58%.

Alibaba's chief financial officer, Maggie Wu, said the results were in contrast to the company's guidelines for the previous quarter, when they predicted a decline in revenue.

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"I am pleased to report that we reported results above expectations in the March quarter," she said.

With China's economy starting far ahead of the major economies in Europe and the United States, the e-commerce group said it expects to generate more than 650 billion yuan in revenue in fiscal year 2021.

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Alibaba has been expanding into new businesses and technologies to cope with increased competition in online shopping from smaller rivals such as JD.com Inc (JD.O) and Pinduoduo Inc (PDD.O), which is popular with residents in China's lower cities.

Alibaba's total revenue increased to 114.31 billion yuan ($ 16.02 billion) in the quarter ended March 31, from 93.50 billion yuan a year ago.

Analysts had expected revenue of 107.04 billion yuan, according to data from Refinitiv's IBES.

The company said the gross volume of goods exceeded $ 1 trillion for the first time in its fiscal year ending in March.

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Excluding items, the company earned 9.20 yuan per American deposit share. Analysts had expected 6.10 yuan per ADS, according to data from Refinitiv.

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The company's US listed shares were marginally trading before the down payment.

CFO Wu said the company was closely monitoring a bill passed this week by the U.S. Senate, which would require listed companies to reveal that they do not belong to a foreign government. The account was designed to be applied to all foreign companies, but is aimed at China.

"Alibaba's financial statements are prepared in accordance with US GAAP …", said Wu, referring to US accounting rules. "We have been SEC filers since 2014 and maintain the highest standard of transparency."

Akanksha Rana's report in Bengaluru and Josh Horwitz in Shanghai; Editing by Arun Koyyur and Jane Merriman

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