Alibaba trumped analysts’ expectations

China’s Alibaba trumped analysts’ expectations with a 42 per cent year-on-year jump in quarterly revenues to Rmb114.92 billion ($16.3 billion), a day after its rival Tencent disappointed the market by posting more modest growth. Alibaba’s roots in ecommerce have allowed it to benefit from the rise in online shopping, a sector subject to less regulatory pressure than gaming and messaging, which are Tencent’s biggest businesses. The robust numbers are the last to be reported before founder Jack Ma hands over the reins as chairman to Daniel Zhang, chief executive officer, next month, part of a changing of the guard that has been accompanied by a broader reshuffle among the top ranks of the two-decade-old company. Net profit attributable to shareholders was Rmb21.25 billion in the three months to the end of June. This far exceeded the previous year’s figure of Rmb8.68 billion, which was heavily dented by employee share compensation from payments affiliate Ant Financial following a fundraising that ratcheted up its valuation… Alibaba is planning to raise up to $20 billion on the Hong Kong stock market, but some analysts say that the current market volatility, trade tensions and conflicts between police and protesters in Hong Kong may prompt it to defer the listing. 

Louise Lucas