Alibaba's Q4 profit jump spurred by Singles Day

A spending spree for November's Singles Day was a major factor in the jump, the e-commerce giant said.

China’s largest e-commerce player Alibaba yesterday reported a 33 percent jump in profit to 30.96 billion yuan (US$4.5 billion) in the fourth quarter last year following strong sales during the annual Singles Day shopping spree in November.

Revenue in the three months ended December jumped 41 percent to 117.28 billion yuan, with growth generally in line with expectations. But income narrowly missed the previous estimate of US$17.47 billion.

“Our persistent focus on better serving our growing base of nearly 700 million consumers across retail, digital entertainment and local consumer services has resulted in our strong quarterly performance,” said Daniel Zhang, chief executive officer of Alibaba Group.

He added that growth has also been driven by the company’s cloud and data technology that helps the digital transformation of millions of enterprises.

Executive Vice Chairman Joseph Tsai noted in the earnings call following the financial release that the digital economy is expected to grow faster than the country’s real economy.

He also said the company did not expect to be hit by Sino-US trade tensions as most of its growth still comes from the domestic market.

The number of annual active consumers on its retail platform increased by 35 million from the end of September to 636 million.

Alibaba’s B2C site Tmall saw physical goods transaction volume grow 29 percent from a year earlier

And cloud computing income jumped 84 percent to 6.61 billion yuan.

Alibaba’s offline retail business and delivery arm ele.me faces profitability pressure in the short term but it still has a competitive advantage over other online retailers regarding offline expansion, Bocom International said in a research note ahead of the earnings release.

It also expects consumer electronics to be under pressure from the turbulent macro-economic situation but apparel and daily consumer goods would still post stable growth.

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