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Alibaba Group (NYSE: $BABA) Announces June Quarter 2017 Results

 

HANGZHOU, China - August 17, 2017 (Investorideas.com Newswire) Alibaba Group Holding Limited (NYSE:BABA) today announced its financial results for the quarter ended June 30, 2017.

"Alibaba had a strong start to fiscal 2018, reflecting the strength and diversity of our businesses and the value we bring to customers on our platforms. Our technology is driving significant growth across our business and strengthening our position beyond core commerce," said Daniel Zhang, Chief Executive Officer of Alibaba Group. "We are excited about the future as we continue to innovate and drive synergies among the businesses throughout the Alibaba ecosystem."

"We delivered excellent results in the first quarter, with robust revenue growth of 56%. The significant growth in customer management revenue represents the differentiated business value we provide to our customers," said Maggie Wu, Chief Financial Officer of Alibaba Group. "It is our intention to continue investing in long-term growth opportunities, some of which are already delivering significant value to customers and investors."

BUSINESS HIGHLIGHTS

In the quarter ended June 30, 2017:

  • Revenue was RMB50,184 million (US$7,403 million), an increase of 56% year-over-year.
  • Revenue from core commerce increased 58% year-over-year to RMB43,027 million (US$6,347 million).
  • Revenue from cloud computing increased 96% year-over-year to RMB2,431 million (US$359 million).
  • Revenue from digital media and entertainment increased 30% year-over-year to RMB4,081 million (US$602 million).
  • Revenue from innovation initiatives and others increased 21% year-over-year to RMB645 million (US$95 million).
  • Annual active consumers (formerly annual active buyers) on our China retail marketplaces reached 466 million, an increase of 12 million from the 12-month period ended March 31, 2017.
  • Mobile MAUs on our China retail marketplaces reached 529 million in June, an increase of 22 million over March 2017.
  • The number of paying customers of our cloud computing business grew to 1,011,000 from 874,000 in the previous quarter. Operating loss from cloud computing was RMB532 million (US$78 million) and adjusted EBITA loss was RMB103 million (US$15 million).
  • Net income was RMB14,031 million (US$2,070 million), income from operations was RMB17,513 million (US$2,583 million) and adjusted EBITDA was RMB25,124 million (US$3,706 million). Operating margin was 35%, adjusted EBITDA margin was 50% and adjusted EBITA margin for core commerce was 63%.
  • Diluted EPS was RMB5.65 (US$0.83) and non-GAAP diluted EPS was RMB7.95 (US$1.17).
  • Net cash provided by operating activities was RMB25,311 million (US$3,733 million) and non-GAAP free cash flow was RMB22,149 million (US$3,267 million).

BUSINESS AND STRATEGIC UPDATES

Core Commerce

Core Commerce – consumer engagement and technology drive monetization. Revenue acceleration in our China retail marketplaces continues to benefit from robust growth in average spending per merchant and the number of paying merchants, which reached a historical high during the quarter. At the core of our broader value proposition to merchants is the consumer insights gathered from providing e-commerce and entertainment services to consumers within our ecosystem, which enable our merchants to target, engage and manage their customer assets along the entire consumer journey. This broader value proposition is recognized by the merchants and reflected in our customer management revenue (formerly online marketing service revenue).

Taobao – a vibrant ecosystem driven by personalized content and innovation. Taobao App's highly relevant and engaging content continues to drive robust growth in active users and engagement. In the quarter ended June 30, 2017, mobile MAUs on our China retail marketplaces increased by 22 million to a total of 529 million mobile MAUs, driven by the strength of the Taobao App. In May, we rolled out a new mobile Taobao user interface that integrates the latest in personalization technology, which we believe will continue to improve user experience and enhance engagement.

Taobao is a vibrant ecosystem that promotes, enables and benefits from the innovation of China's SME's and entrepreneurs. In July, we held the second annual Taobao Maker Festival in Hangzhou, which showcased original quality designs and trend setting products from millennial entrepreneurs who embody the innovative thinking of China's younger generation. Tens of millions of consumers attended the five-day event virtually and in person.

Tmall – gaining B2C market share in core categories and more collaboration with brands. Tmall recorded 49% year-over-year growth for physical goods GMV in the quarter ended June 30, 2017. Fashion and apparel, consumer electronics and fast moving consumer goods, or FMCG, were among the key categories that experienced robust and reaccelerating GMV growth during the quarter.

We have established Tmall as a leading brand-building and distribution platform that is capturing increasing digital marketing and commerce spending from owners of both domestic and international branded products that are doing business in China. During the quarter, international brands such as Moet Hennessy, Victoria's Secret, Roland and Abercrombie & Fitch established Tmall flagship stores to engage with and sell their products to consumers on our platforms.

New Retail – seamless integration of online and offline retail experience. In May 2017, we completed the privatization and the acquisition of a controlling stake in Intime Retail Group for HK$12.6 billion (US$1.6 billion). Intime is a leading department store and mall operator in China with 49 department stores and shopping malls as of June 30, 2017. We expect Intime to support our strategy to transform conventional retail, especially in soft goods and branded products, by leveraging our substantial consumer reach, insight and technology.

In the fresh food category, we incubated Hema in 2015 to digitize and transform the traditional supermarket and big-box retail format in China, using technology to offer consumers a more efficient and flexible shopping experience whether they are online or in the store. As part of our New Retail strategy, Hema leverages our consumer insight, mobile technologies and other proprietary in-store technologies to provide a seamless omni-channel experience for consumers. Hema stores double as warehouses for online orders, and our proprietary fulfillment system enables 30-minute delivery to customers.

International – laying the foundation for long-term growth. Our cross-border and international consumer businesses continue to exhibit robust growth. Revenue from our international commerce retail business reached meaningful scale at RMB2,638 million (US$389 million) in the quarter ended June 30, 2017, representing a 136% year-on-year growth, driven by strong growth in our Southeast Asian platform Lazada and our China outbound platform AliExpress. The growth of Lazada and AliExpress further expands our customer base outside China.

During the quarter we increased our ownership in Lazada to 83%, reflecting confidence in the growth potential of its businesses and the Southeast Asian markets. During the quarter, Lazada launched the "LiveUp" subscription-based membership program in Singapore, with free shipping for eligible products and grocery deliveries within 24 hours. Members also enjoy free trial subscriptions from Netflix and VIP benefits from Uber and UberEats. Under cooperation with Taobao Marketplace, Lazada launched "Taobao Collection" in Singapore and Malaysia, which expands Lazada's product offering by giving local customers access to high-quality products from China. We will continue to aggressively invest in the high potential markets of Southeast Asia as well as launch innovative services to benefit consumers in the region.

This quarter, we made significant progress in educating the US market on Alibaba and the opportunities we enable for businesses of all sizes to use our platform to build their brands and sell their products to millions of Chinese consumers who desire quality American goods. In June, we hosted Gateway '17 in Detroit, Michigan – a conference where 3000 U.S. small businesses, farmers, brands and entrepreneurs attended to learn about how to sell to China using Alibaba as their gateway. Businesses such as Gerber, Stadium Goods, and 100% Pure shared their experiences on how Alibaba has helped them grow their businesses by tapping into the China market, which is good for the Chinese consumer as well as for business growth and job creation in the United States. On September 25, we will host a similar event in Canada to educate and engage Canadian businesses in selling to China.

In August, with Marriott, we established a joint venture to provide a completely new travel experience for hundreds of millions of Chinese consumers with personalized VIP experiences, cashless travel and an integrated loyalty program. Marriott's award-winning loyalty platform coupled with our unparalleled digital consumption ecosystem in China present tremendous opportunities to create the best-in-class membership platform for over 500 million active mobile users on our China retail marketplaces.

Cloud Computing

Alibaba Cloud reached a key milestone of exceeding one million paying customers, an increase of 137,000 from the previous quarter. Cloud computing revenue grew 96% year-over-year to RMB2,431 million (US$359 million), driven by robust paying customer growth and improving revenue mix of higher valued-added services, as reflected by ongoing ARPU expansion. Market expansion remains our top priority, and we will continue to invest to acquire customers by developing innovative solutions and deploying efficient and cost effective products and services.

During the quarter, Alibaba Cloud launched several new products that lower the barrier of migrating large-scale data to cloud services for traditional companies. For example, Cloud Storage Gateway allows customers to seamlessly connect their on-premise storage with Alibaba Cloud storage. Lightning Cube, a petabyte-scale data transport solution, helps enterprises to transfer large amounts of data at high speed between their data centers and Alibaba Cloud through portable storage appliances. Alibaba Cloud also continues to expand its Elastic Computing Service product portfolio. As of mid-August 2017, Alibaba Cloud is providing 19 types of Elastic Computing Service products that can be applied to 173 application scenarios, such as artificial intelligence, healthcare, video streaming, finance, e-commerce, and IoT.

Our cloud computing customer base spans a variety of industries and businesses from startups to large corporations, covering industry segments across consumer brands, energy, financial institutions, healthcare, manufacturing, media and retail. Selected enterprise customers in China include:

  • CITIC Group, a major state-owned multinational diversified company in China, is using our hybrid cloud solutions to enhance the integration of internal processes;
  • China Huaneng Group, a fortune 500 company, adopted our hybrid cloud solution to digitize and upgrade its global procurement system;
  • ofo, a leading, rapidly growing bike sharing company in China, is expanding the range of cloud services including security, storage and big data, to support its business expansion; and
  • PICC Finance, a subsidiary of PICC, one of the largest insurance companies in Asia, will adopt our financial vertical solution to support its expansion into Internet financing services.

On the international front, Alibaba Cloud continues to expand its global footprint and customer base. During the quarter, we announced plans to build two new data centers in Malaysia and Indonesia, adding to our presence in over 14 countries and regions to serve customers worldwide. For example, AirAsia, a Pan-Asian airline based in Malaysia and the largest low-cost carrier in Asia in terms of fleet size, began to operate their business on our cloud computing platform, utilizing security and content delivery network services.

Digital Media and Entertainment

During the quarter, the management focus of our digital media and entertainment segment was on broadening our access to quality content, developing Youku's subscription based business, and expanding the products and services of UCWeb.

Our strategy of acquiring and developing a mixture of licensed and original content yielded hit drama and variety shows during the quarter. In addition, daily average subscribers of Youku video subscriptions increased over 100% year-on-year in the quarter ended June 30, 2017. We believe a strong pipeline of content, especially with a focus on original content with visibility of content availability and broadcast timing flexibility, will bring us sustainable long-term advantages in video entertainment.

UCWeb continues its strategy of deepening its products and services beyond the browser. We saw increased engagement of value-added services of UCWeb. We will continue to invest in product expansion as well as the international footprint of UCWeb.

Innovation Initiatives

We continue to deliver innovative products that serve the day-to-day needs of our customers. In July we launched our first AI-powered voice assistant, Tmall Genie, which was developed by our AI Lab leveraging our group's proprietary AI technology. The Tmall Genie assists with shopping, ordering local services, searching for information, controlling smart appliances and playing multi-media content, including educational stories and music for children. Tmall Genie is equipped with our proprietary "voice-print payment" technology that accurately identifies a user's voice (analogous to using finger-print to identify individuals) to authenticate the user and complete the payment process.

Commitment to Intellectual Property Protection

In August, 180 brand representatives attended our second Brand Rights' Holder Day in Beijing. The event featured presentations from our brand-protection team and workshops detailing our initiatives in intellectual property protection. Brands and rights holders see increasing benefits from the unique aspects of our technology to monitor and to protect the integrity of our platforms. In the first month after the recent implementation of technology enhancements on our IP protection platform, almost all cases submitted by rights holders were handled and closed within 24 hours.

We also announced a partnership with French luxury group Kering to cooperate in intellectual property protection. The two companies have established a joint task force to collaborate fully, exchange information, and work closely with law enforcement to take appropriate action against infringers of Kering's brands identified with Alibaba's advanced technology capabilities. As part of the agreement, Kering dismissed the lawsuit against us and our affiliate Alipay in the federal district court in New York.

Updates on Equity Investees and Others

Cainiao Network – data enabled logistics network. During the quarter, Cainiao Network's platform enabled the delivery of an average of 55 million packages per day on our China retail marketplaces. Cainiao Network continues to focus on improving user experience and merchant efficiency. For example, in June, Cainiao Network launched automated guided vehicles in a fulfillment center in Guangdong, which improved sorting efficiency.

Koubei and Ele.me – restaurant, food delivery and local services. Koubei, our local services joint venture with Ant Financial, generated RMB92 billion (US$14 billion) in payment volume transacted through Alipay during the quarter ended June 30, 2017, compared to RMB75 billion in the prior quarter, achieving a sequential growth rate of 23%. During this quarter, we and Ant Financial jointly invested further capital into food delivery company Ele.me, an equity investee, to fuel its rapid expansion. Ele.me currently provides services in over 2,000 cities and counties.

Social Impact

Job training for women. In June, the Alibaba Foundation expanded its job creation program to Hubei Province to support and train impoverished mothers with professional skills to enter the e-commerce industry. As of July 2017, the program, which the Alibaba Foundation started in 2010, has helped more than 5,000 mothers in different Chinese cities gain employment.

Recovery of missing children. The "Reunion" platform that helps locate missing children across China celebrated its first anniversary in May 2017. The Reunion platform is an ecosystem of connected Alibaba and partner mobile apps that provides the infrastructure for law enforcement authorities to receive crowd-sourced information from the public in order to more effectively conduct searches for missing children. According to the Chinese authorities, the platform had successfully located 1,274 missing children since inception in May 2016, with a 97% success rate.

Cash Flow from Operating Activities and Free Cash Flow

Net cash provided by operating activities in the quarter ended June 30, 2017 was RMB25,311 million (US$3,733 million), an increase of 69% compared to RMB14,958 million in the same quarter of 2016. Free cash flow, a non-GAAP measurement of liquidity, in the quarter ended June 30, 2017 was RMB22,149 million (US$3,267 million), an increase of 74% compared to RMB12,745 million in the same quarter of 2016. A reconciliation of net cash provided by operating activities to free cash flow is included at the end of this results announcement.

Our results announcement and accompanying slides are available at Alibaba Group's Investor Relations website at http://www.alibabagroup.com/en/ir/home on August 17, 2017.

ABOUT ALIBABA GROUP

Alibaba Group's mission is to make it easy to do business anywhere. The company aims to build the future infrastructure of commerce. It envisions that its customers will meet, work and live at Alibaba, and that it will be a company that lasts at least 102 years.

SAFE HARBOR STATEMENTS

This announcement contains forward-looking statements. These statements are made under the "safe harbor" provisions of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements can be identified by terminology such as "will," "expects," "anticipates," "future," "intends," "plans," "believes," "estimates," "potential," "continue," "ongoing," "targets," "guidance" and similar statements. Among other things, statements that are not historical facts, including statements about Alibaba's strategies and business plans, Alibaba's beliefs and expectations regarding the growth of its business and its revenue, the business outlook and quotations from management in this announcement, as well as Alibaba's strategic and operational plans, are or contain forward-looking statements. Alibaba may also make forward-looking statements in its periodic reports to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the "SEC"), in press releases and other written materials and in oral statements made by its officers, directors or employees to third parties. Forward-looking statements involve inherent risks and uncertainties. A number of factors could cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statement, including but not limited to the following: Alibaba's goals and strategies; Alibaba's future business development; Alibaba's ability to maintain the trusted status of its ecosystem, reputation and brand; risks associated with increased investments in Alibaba's business and new business initiatives; risks associated with strategic acquisitions and investments; Alibaba's ability to retain or increase engagement of consumers, merchants and other participants in its ecosystem and enable new offerings; Alibaba's ability to maintain or grow its revenue or business; risks associated with limitation or restriction of services provided by Alipay; changes in laws, regulations and regulatory environment that affect Alibaba's business operations; privacy and regulatory concerns; competition; security breaches; the continued growth of the e-commerce market in China and globally; risks associated with the performance of our business partners, including but not limited to Ant Financial; and fluctuations in general economic and business conditions in China and globally and assumptions underlying or related to any of the foregoing. Further information regarding these and other risks is included in Alibaba's filings with the SEC. All information provided in this results announcement is as of the date of this results announcement and are based on assumptions that we believe to be reasonable as of this date, and Alibaba does not undertake any obligation to update any forward-looking statement, except as required under applicable law.


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