Alibaba today bolstered its position as China’s largest online retailer, revealing revenue growth of 61 per cent for its first quarter.
The group published an income of 80.9bn yuan (£9.2bn) in the three months ending June, marginally ahead of forecasts, and an increase in customers on the Taobao shopping platform as 576m people flocked to the website and app, up four per cent on the same period last year.
US-listed shares fell half a per cent to $1.77 on the back of the news, with net income falling 41 per cent to 8.7bn yuan due to one-off costs, while non-GAAP free cash flow stood at 26.3bn yuan. The fall was credited to the ongoing US-China trade war.
Chief executive Daniel Zhang said:
“Alibaba had another excellent quarter, with significant user expansion and even more robust engagement across our growing ecosystem. Our China retail marketplace business continues to gain share, with new retail initiatives driving further revenue growth and enabling our retail partners to seamlessly serve customers.
"We are executing our plan of providing more value and choice to users along the consumption continuum, with digital entertainment and local service offerings that tap into big addressable markets beyond core commerce. We will continue to invest in strategic business opportunities and innovation to sustain our competitive advantage and for long-term growth.”
The company has established itself in a breadth of sectors, with interests in logistics, digital media and artificial intelligence, in addition to its retail arm, much like Amazon.
Staying apace with its US rival's cloud growth, Alibaba posted a 93 per cent increase in cloud revenue to 4.7bn yuan, placing its attention on big data analytics and artificial intelligence. Tmall Genie, Alibaba’s voice assistant, achieved sales of 5m units since its official launch last year.
Meanwhile its digital and media arm posted a 46 per cent rise in revenue to 6bn yuan, though its core retail operations accounted for most of the growth, pulling in 69bn yuan, a 61 per cent year-on-year increase.
It now plans to merge its food delivery acquisition, Ele.me, with its own replica service Koubei, and begin to deliver Starbucks coffee to customers in a strategic partnership with the chain. It is an aspect of Alibaba’s new retail’ strategy, in what it describes as “capturing consumption patterns of the future”.
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