Alibaba beats estimates but coronavirus uncertainty lingers


Alibaba beat analyst estimates in its fourth quarter results, driven by record sales during Singles’ Day in November. 

Despite this the company sounded a warning about the start of 2020 because of the coronavirus and said that it was doing all it can to help Chinese consumers. 

“In response to the coronavirus, we mobilised Alibaba ecosystem’s powerful forces of commerce and technology to fully support the fight against the outbreak, ensure supply of daily necessities for our communities and introduced practical relief measures for our merchants,” Alibaba chairman and chief executive Daniel Zhang said. 

The company reported record sales of 268bn yuan (£29.5bn) in November’s 24-hour shopping event, while sales in the company’s core commerce business jumped 38 per cent to 141.48bn yuan (£14.47bn). 

Revenue rose 38 per cent to 161.46bn yuan (£17.77bn), beating estimates of 159.28bn yuan (£17.53bn). 

Demand for Alibaba’s cloud computing business increased with revenue surging 62 per cent to 10.71bn yuan (£1.18bn). 

During a call with analysts Zhang said the coronavirus outbreak is a “black swan event”, warning that it has global implications. 

Earlier this week, Alibaba said its affiliate Ant Financial’s MYBank unit would offer 20bn yuan (£2.2bn) in loans to companies in China in light of the coronavirus outbreak.

Excluding items, Alibaba earned 18.19 yuan (£2) per American depository share, compared to analysts’ expectations of 15.75 yuan (£1.73).

US-listed shares were down more than 5 per cent to $218.81 (£168.02) in pre-market trading.