Alibaba Earnings Miss But Revenue Soars 60%

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Alibaba Group Holding, operator of the world's largest e-commerce platform, posted a record year of revenue in 2016, driven by China's growing preference for online retailing, where consumers shop on the internet for everything from clothing to food and electronics.

China's e-commerce giant said revenue jumped about 60 percent to 38.58 billion yuan ($5.60 billion) in the first quarter, boosted by new business such as cloud computing and entertainment. Fourth quarter earnings per share of 64 cents missed expectations by a penny, according to FactSet, while earnings for the fiscal year that ended in March were a penny better than expectations at $3.44 per share, according to FactSet.

The company also announced a share buyback up to 6 billion.

Shares of Alibaba slipped 2.7 per cent in NY on Wednesday.

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

Alibaba has ramped up expansion outside of China and consolidated its Southeast Asian retail site Lazada, which it acquired previous year.

Net income attributable to shareholders rose to 10.65 billion yuan, or 60 cents per share, from 5.37 billion yuan in the year-earlier quarter. 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.

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. While revenue in those nascent divisions is surging, they are yet to make money.

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Its digital media and entertainment business saw an increase in revenue of 234 percent to 3.9 billion yuan, reflecting the dividends from the consolidation of Youku Tudou, which Alibaba acquired for $3.5 billion in October. Alibaba's founder and chairman Jack Ma Yun has also said that the firm will invest 50 billion yuan over the next three years in Hollywood films. Alibaba will need "further spending to fill out its original content offerings". For the full fiscal year 2017, operating loss from cloud computing was US$244 million and adjusted EBITA loss was US$69 million.

"Investors will be paying attention to Alibaba's top-line growth guidance for next year", Ray Zhao, an analyst at Guotai Junan Securities, told Bloomberg News.

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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