Alibaba records profits surge as crackdown in China intensifies
Alibaba reported a big quarter for its e-commerce business. But China’s most famous tech firm faced nervous investors on Tuesday as a regulatory crackdown by Beijing and co-founder Jack Ma’s fall from grace cast a shadow over its future
In the third quarter of its staggered fiscal year, the Wall Street-listed group reported a profit of 79 billion yuan ($12.2 billion) on Tuesday, up 52 percent year-on-year.
That came after a fall of 60 percent in the previous quarter.
Sales for the period was up 37 percent year on year to 221.1 billion yuan — outstripping the estimates of analysts polled by financial agency Bloomberg, who forecast a 33 percent increase in revenue.
While China was the only major world economy to have emerged from a coronavirus-hit 2020 with positive growth, its rate of expansion — 2.3 percent for the year — was still its slowest in 44 years.
“Ant Group’s business outlook and IPO plans are subject to great uncertainty,” the group said.
A month after the plug was pulled on the IPO, regulators opened an investigation into Alibaba’s business practices, deemed anti-competitive.
On Tuesday, the company said it was “fully cooperating” with the investigation, by the State Administration for Market Regulation.