Alibaba 4Q revenue jumps as it sees more shoppers

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

NEW YORK (AP) — Chinese e-commerce powerhouse Alibaba Group's revenue jumped 45 percent on strong mobile growth and more active buyers in the fiscal fourth quarter.

The company also on Thursday named a new CEO and said it planned a hiring freeze for the fiscal year.

Sales beat expectations, and the company's shares rose 7.5 percent in premarket trading.

Alibaba went public in September to much fanfare as investors sought to tap into the rapidly growing Chinese middle-class consumer class. Its e-commerce platforms including Taobao and Tmall make up 80 percent of Chinese e-commerce.

Net income for the three months ended March 31 fell 49 percent to 2.87 million Chinese yuan ($463 million), or $1.12 yuan (18 cents) per share, from 5.66 billion yuan, or 2.80 yuan per share, last year. Excluding one-time items, net income totaled 48 cents per share. Analysts expected 43 cents per share, according to FactSet.

Revenue rose 45 percent to 17.43 billion yuan ($2.81 billion), from 12.03 billion yuan last year. Analysts expected $2.72 billion.

Gross merchandise volume, or the total amount of goods sold on Alibaba's platforms, rose 40 percent from the same period last year. Annual active buyers rose 37 percent to 350 million.

The company also said Daniel Zhang, chief operating officer, will become CEO effective Sunday, replacing Jonathan Lu, who will become vice chairman.

Zhang has been at the company for eight years. He has been chief operating officer since 2013.

Alibaba, based in Hangzhou, China, wasn't planning on adding new staff to its 34,985 workforce in fiscal 2016, but said it will "continue to bring in the necessary talent to enable us to execute our growth plans."

Shares rose 7.5 percent, or 6 percent, to $85.92 in premarket trading. The stock is down about 23 percent since the beginning of the year.