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Alibaba Revenue Tops Expectation on Pandemic-Driven Online Boom

Employees work in a Cainiao warehouse  in Wuxi, China's eastern Jiangsu province, ahead of Singles' Day 2020. Getty Images.
Employees pack boxes in a Cainiao warehouse in Wuxi, China's eastern Jiangsu province, ahead of Singles' Day 2020. Getty Images. (HECTOR RETAMAL)

China’s top e-commerce platform Alibaba Group Holding Ltd reported a forecast-beating 64 percent surge in quarterly revenue on Thursday, as more people shopped online due to the coronavirus pandemic.

But the strong performance was overshadowed by intense regulatory crackdown that resulted in the suspension of a $37 billion IPO of its affiliate Ant Group and a $2.8 billion fine for anti-competitive business practices.

Net loss attributable to ordinary shareholders was 5.48 billion yuan, or 1.99 per American depository share (ADS), compared with a profit of 3.16 billion yuan, or 1.16 yuan per ADS, a year earlier.

Competition from smaller rivals is also heating up, with Pinduoduo Inc overtaking Alibaba to become China’s largest e-commerce platform by users.

Alibaba’s U.S. listed shares have fallen more than 30 percent since hitting a record high in late October when its founder Jack Ma delivered a speech in Shanghai criticising China’s financial regulators.

Revenue rose to 187.4 billion yuan ($29.03 billion) in the three months ended March 31, higher than 180.41 billion yuan forecast by 30 analysts compiled by Refinitiv.

By Chavi Mehta in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur

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