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Alibaba sales growth soars into the cloud
[BEIJING] Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba's sales soared 55 per cent in the last quarter, thanks in part to a more than doubling of revenue from cloud computing, the company said Wednesday.
The year-on-year growth in group sales, to 34.29 billion yuan (S$7.04 billion), was not matched by net profit, which slid 66 percent to 7.62 billion yuan.
The drop was mostly due to an unfavourable comparison, as last year the firm booked an exceptional gain linked to the re-evaluation of its participation in one unit.
"Alibaba Group had a great quarter," chief executive Daniel Zhang said in a statement on the firm's second quarter, which ended in September.
"Our results reflect our increasing ability to monetise our 450 million mobile users through new and innovative social commerce experiences." The number of mobile users increased by 23 million since the end of the previous quarter in June.
Sales in the core commerce unit rose 41 per cent year-on-year to US$4.27 billion.
Alibaba is China's dominant player in online commerce, with its Taobao platform estimated to hold more than 90 per cent of the consumer-to-consumer market, while its Tmall platform is believed to have over half of business-to-consumer transactions.
The company, often compared to eBay or Amazon of the United States, has expanded outside its core e-commerce business, in sectors ranging from sports to entertainment.
Mr Zhang praised the rapid growth of Alibaba's cloud computing business, which saw sales soar 130 per cent to the equivalent of US$224 million.
Revenue from digital media and entertainment jumped 302 per cent to the equivalent of US$541 million.
"We also see huge potential in our newly integrated digital media and entertainment unit," said Mr Zhang.
Alibaba Pictures last month took a minority shareholding in Spielberg's Amblin Partners, a film creation company that includes DreamWorks studios.