Alibaba Revenue Disappoints, Shares Fall

Alibaba Revenue Disappoints, Shares Fall
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This story originally appeared on Reuters

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd's quarterly revenue fell short of analysts' expectations, showing signs of a slowdown in the Chinese e-commerce company's scorching growth.

Alibaba's shares fell 7 percent in premarket trading on Thursday.

Revenue rose 40 percent to $4.22 billion in the December quarter, but missed the average analyst estimate of $4.45 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Alibaba's second quarterly report card since its record-breaking $25 billion IPO still underscored how it has managed to outpace global rivals Amazon.com Inc and eBay Inc by dint of its 80 percent share of the Chinese online commerce market.

Ebay managed just single-digit net revenue growth in percentage terms in the U.S. holiday shopping quarter.

Gross merchandise value (GMV), or the sum of all Alibaba's online commerce transactions, rose 49 percent to $127 billion. Mobile GMV accounted for 42 percent of total GMV, up from 36 percent in the September quarter.

Still, revenue growth slipped as sales through mobiles, which typically have lower margins, accounted for a bigger slice of total sales than in the previous quarter.

Margins on earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization bounced back after a decline in the previous quarter to 58 percent from 50.5 percent in the July-September period.

The number of annual active buyers on Alibaba's various services, another closely watched metric, rose to 334 million from 307 million in the September quarter.

Alibaba, which already handles more e-commerce than Amazon and eBay combined, has said that there is ample room to grow in its home market.

The company reported more than $9 billion in sales on Singles' Day in November.

Net income attributable to ordinary shareholders was $957 million, or 37 cents per share, in the quarter ended Dec. 31.

Excluding items, the company earned 81 cents per share.

Analysts on average were expecting earnings of 75 cents per share.

(Reporting by Supantha Mukherjee in Bengaluru and Edwin Chan in San Francisco; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)

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