Alibaba beats estimates as pandemic fuels online, cloud computing demand

Exterior of Alibaba Group Beijing Headquarters on November 10, 2019 in Beijing, China.

VCG | Visual China Group | Getty Images

China’s Alibaba beat quarterly revenue and profit estimates on Thursday, as its core commerce and cloud computing businesses benefited from the coronavirus-led shift to online shopping and working from home.

The company’s U.S.-listed shares inched up, adding to their 23% gain this year.

The results come as U.S.-listed Chinese companies face renewed heat and President Donald Trump has said he could exert pressure on more Chinese companies after he moved to ban TikTok, owned by China’s ByteDance.

The White House has been piling pressure ahead of the presidential election in November and financial markets are watching for signs of whether it will lead to further tit-for-tat moves that could hit a global recovery.

Sales from Alibaba’s core commerce business jumped 34% to 133.32 billion yuan ($19.27 billion) in the first quarter ended June.

“Our domestic core commerce business has fully recovered to pre-COVID-19 levels across the board, while cloud computing revenue grew 59% year-over-year,” Chief Financial Officer Maggie Wu said in a statement.

On Monday, JD.com beat analysts’ estimates for quarterly sales, while Pinduoduo Inc is expected to report second-quarter results on Friday.

Alibaba’s net income attributable to ordinary shareholders rose to 47.59 billion yuan from 21.25 billion yuan.

Excluding items, the company earned 14.82 yuan per American depository share (ADS). Analysts had expected 13.78 yuan per ADS, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Total revenue rose about 34% to 153.75 billion yuan in the, slower than the 42% growth in the same quarter last year.

Analysts had expected revenue of 147.77 billion yuan.

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