There is nothing that appears to slow down Alibaba’s (NYSE: BABA) growth rates. It recently reported results for the March ended quarter, and the company delivered its eighth consecutive quarter of over 50% revenue growth. Also, unlike other e-tailers, Alibaba is delivering this growth while delivering impressive income levels.
Alibaba’s fourth quarter revenues grew 61% over the year to RMB 61.9 billion (~$9.9 billion). It ended the quarter with an EPS of RMB 2.88 (~$0.46). The market was looking for revenue growth of 53% or RMB 59.6 billion for the quarter.
During the quarter, revenues from the core commerce section grew 62% to RMB 51.3 billion (~$8.2 billion). Cloud computing revenues increased 103% over the year to RMB 4.38 billion (~$0.7 billion). Digital Media and Entertainment revenue grew 34% to RMB5.3 billion (~$0.84 billion). Revenue from Innovation initiatives and others grew 8% to RMB988 million (~$153 million).
Among operating metrics, annual active users climbed by 37 million to 552 million and mobile monthly active users jumped by 37 million to 617 million.
Alibaba ended fiscal 2018 with revenues growing 58% to RMB250.3 billion (~$39.9 billion) driven by an impressive 60% growth in core commerce revenues. It ended the year with non-GAAP free cash flow of RMB99.4 billion (~$15.8 billion), recording a 44% growth over the year.
Alibaba expects to end the current year with revenues growing 60% over the year.
Alibaba’s International Expansion
Alibaba remained focused on international expansion and recently announced the acquisition of Pakistan’s e-commerce player Daraz. Daraz is owned by Rocket Internet and has operations in Bangladesh, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and Nepal. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Daraz was founded in 2012 and is known to have received $56 million in funding prior to the acquisition.
The move will help Alibaba expand in the Southeast Asian market. Two years ago, it had marked its presence in the region with the acquisition of majority stake in Lazada. In June last year, Alibaba increased its stake in Lazada from 51% to 83%. Earlier this year, it announced an additional investment of $2 billion in Lazada. The Southeast Asian market offers big opportunity for retailers right now, as was marked by Walmart’s recent acquisition of India’s Flipkart. Alibaba had been driving into the Indian market by backing the mobile payments platform PayTM. But of late, it appears to be focusing on other countries in the region instead.
Alibaba’s Domestic Market Expansion
Meanwhile, Alibaba continued to expand its footprint in the Chinese market as well. It recently announced plans to invest $1.4 billion in Chinese express delivery company ZTO Express to acquire a 10% stake in the organization. The move is part of Alibaba’s New Retail initiative, which aims at integrating online and offline shopping. As part of the deal, ZTO will work with Alibaba to digitize its logistics network, manage first and last mile delivery, route package deliveries to the rural villages, and accelerate delivery times by about 30%.
Earlier this year, Alibaba also announced plans to fully acquire the Chinese food delivery app Ele.me. Alibaba already owns a 23% stake in Ele.me. If the deal went through, it could value Ele.me at $9.5 billion. The acquisition will again help with the New Retail initiative. Alibaba has been investing in the expansion of fresh food grocer Hema stores as part of the initiative. Alibaba is offering 30 minute delivery service for Hema customers living within 3 km of a Hema store. Ele.me’s acquisition will help deliver on this promise as Hema stores continue to expand.
Alibaba’s stock is trading at $197.98 with a market capitalization of $508.7 billion. It has grown from its 52-week low of $122 a year ago. It had peaked to a 52-week high of $206.20 earlier this year.
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