Alibaba beats quarterly revenue estimates on online boom

SHANGHAI (Reuters): Alibaba Group Holding Ltd beat Wall Street estimates for third-quarter revenue on Tuesday, as its e-commerce business benefited from a switch to online shopping triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The results come as China clamps down on founder Jack Ma's sprawling business empire, having forced the suspension of a blockbuster US$37 billion IPO for Alibaba's financial affiliate Ant Group.

Ma made his first public appearance in three months in January, helping allay investor concerns and boosting shares of Alibaba.

Alibaba's post-COVID-19 Singles Day sales event, the world's biggest online shopping event that eclipses the sales of U.S. shopping holidays Black Friday and Cyber Monday, registered total sales of US$74 billion in November.

Core commerce revenue rose 38% to a record high of 195.54 billion yuan in the quarter, powered by the company's China retail marketplaces as the economy rebounded from the COVID-19 crisis.

Revenue rose 37% to 221.08 billion yuan (US$34.24 billion) in the three months ended Dec. 31, above analysts' estimates of 214.38 billion yuan, according IBES data from Refinitiv.

Net income attributable to ordinary shareholders was 79.43 billion yuan, or 28.85 yuan per American depository share, compared to 52.31 billion yuan, or 19.55 yuan per American depository share, a year earlier.

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