Alibaba reveals $6 billion share buyback as misses EPS forecast

Alibaba posts strongest sales quarter since 2014 IPO, helped by China's online shoppers

Alibaba posts strongest sales quarter since 2014 IPO, helped by China's online shoppers

"Our revenue base is now more diversified", Chief Financial Officer Maggie Wu said, adding that Alibaba's cloud and entertainment sectors became "more meaningful growth drivers" during the quarter.

Alibaba's total revenue rose about 60 percent to 38.58 billion yuan ($5.60 billion) in the quarter ended March 31, versus an average forecast of 36 billion yuan according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Adjusted earnings- per-share was 4.35 yuan, and the net income was 9.85 billion yuan.

China's embrace of the smartphone in the past decade - as well as economic activities related to the internet - has turned Alibaba, Tencent Holdings and other Chinese technology companies into some of the largest enterprises in the industry. Its core e-commerce business remains strong, thanks to robust consumption in the world's second largest economy.

"The traditional thinking that pits e-commerce against physical commerce no longer holds", said Alibaba's co-founder and executive vice chairman Joseph Tsai Chung-hsin. Up to 507 million customers used Alibaba's China retail platforms on their smartphones in March, an increase of 14 million from December. During fiscal year 2017, monetization of our mobile commerce platforms outpaced the monetization of the desktop computer platforms.

The vendor said it was the largest public cloud services provider in China a year ago, citing figures from IDC. As of March 2017, paying customers for cloud computing grew to 874,000, an increase of approximately 109,000 from the previous quarter. Its digital media and entertainment business increased 234% to $571 million.

In October Alibaba Pictures took a minority shareholding in Steven Spielberg's Amblin Partners, a film creation company that includes DreamWorks studios. The segment reported a loss of 9.9 billion yuan for the year, more than double the 4.1 billion yuan loss a year earlier. Shares were down 2.3% at 10:30 am in NY trading.

The China-based e-commerce firm, which sells promotional products online, also announced a two-year stock buyback program valued at close to $6 billion.

"Alibaba Cloud's top priority remains expanding its market leadership", the statement noted, adding that the services now transverse consumer brands, energy, financial institutions, healthcare, manufacturing, media and retail.

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