Alibaba quarterly profits almost double to $1.55 bn

Kim Kyung-Hoon  ReutersAlibaba

Kim Kyung-Hoon ReutersAlibaba

China's e-commerce giant Alibaba said Thursday that its quarterly revenue jumped 60 percent year on year in the fourth fiscal quarter ending March.

The company reported a revenue of 158.3 billion yuan in the fiscal year ended in March, increasing 56 percent, and an operating margin of 30 percent. It reported adjusted earnings of 63 cents a share, missing the consensus of 66 cents (4.53 yuan).

China's top e-commerce firm also announced a two-year share repurchase program of up to $6 billion. Initially, Alibaba shares fell as much as 5.6% to $114 in NY, the biggest intraday drop in nearly a year.

"Chinese consumers are driving the shift of the Chinese economy from an export and investment-led to a consumption-led economy", Tsai said.

The firm acquired the Singapore e-commerce site Lazada past year.

E-commerce is bucking a slowdown in China's wider economy by appealing to a growing middle class demanding premium products from Alaskan salmon to New Zealand milk.

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While the company explores new revenue streams with projects related to data, cloud computing, artificial intelligence and logistics, e-commerce continues to generate the vast majority of Alibaba's revenue. Revenue in those nascent divisions is surging, but they are yet to make money. Growing Chinese affluence is propelling billionaire founder Jack Ma's global expansion, which include helping a million American businesses tap Chinese consumers and reaching foreign shoppers through AliExpress. Its effective tax rate climbed to 29 percent from 23 percent a year earlier, when the company set aside a portion of its earnings as non-taxable reinvestment capital.

Alibaba has said it also plans to expand internationally for future growth.

That was on the back of a faster-than-expected 60 percent surge in revenue to 38.58 billion yuan - a key figure for gauging China's increasingly important consumer sector.

Revenue from digital entertainment more than tripled to 3.9 billion yuan with an operating loss of 2.6 billion yuan as it spends on content for video site Youku Tudou and other platforms.

Alibaba's steadily-improving ability to monetize transactions on its massive Taobao and Tmall Chinese marketplaces via revenue streams such as ads, commissions and shipping fees remains a major growth driver.

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