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Alibaba Group Announces September Quarter 2019 Results

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Alibaba Group Holding Limited (NYSE:BABA) today announced its financial results for the quarter ended September 30, 2019.

"Alibaba Group celebrated its 20th anniversary in September, marking an important milestone on our 102 year journey to make it easy to do business anywhere," said Daniel Zhang, Executive Chairman and CEO of Alibaba Group. "Our digital economy continues to thrive and prosper. We aim to serve over one billion annual active consumers and help our merchants achieve over RMB10 trillion in annual gross merchandise volume by end of fiscal 2024. We will continue to invest in the user experience and innovative technology to create new value for consumers, as well as the millions of enterprises undergoing digital transformation in the new digital economy."

"We delivered a strong quarter with revenue growth of 40% and adjusted EBITDA up 39% year-over-year," said Maggie Wu, Chief Financial Officer of Alibaba Group. "With sustained consumer engagement and spending across the Alibaba Economy, we have continued our revenue and profit growth, as well as strong free cash flow that enable us to invest in long-term growth."

BUSINESS HIGHLIGHTS

In the quarter ended September 30, 2019:

  • Revenue was RMB119,017 million (US$16,651 million), an increase of 40% year-over-year.
  • Annual active consumers on our China retail marketplaces reached 693 million, an increase of 19 million from the 12-month period ended June 30, 2019.
  • Mobile MAUs on our China retail marketplaces reached 785 million in September 2019, an increase of 30 million over June 2019.
  • Income from operations was RMB20,364 million (US$2,849 million), an increase of 51% year-over-year. Adjusted EBITDA, a non-GAAP measurement, increased 39% year-over-year to RMB37,101 million (US$5,191 million).
  • Adjusted EBITA for core commerce was RMB38,574 million (US$5,397 million), an increase of 29% year-over-year. Our marketplace-based core commerce adjusted EBITA, a non-GAAP measurement, increased 28% year-over-year to RMB45,610 million (US$6,381 million).
  • Net income attributable to ordinary shareholders was RMB72,540 million (US$10,149 million), and net income was RMB70,748 million (US$9,898 million), which included a significant one-time gain recognized upon the receipt of the 33% equity interest in Ant Financial. Excluding this one-time gain of RMB69.2 billion (US$9.7 billion) and certain other items, non-GAAP net income was RMB32,750 million (US$4,582 million), an increase of 40% year-over-year. A reconciliation of net income to non-GAAP net income is included at the end of this results announcement.
  • Diluted earnings per ADS was RMB27.51 (US$3.85) and non-GAAP diluted earnings per ADS was RMB13.10 (US$1.83), an increase of 36% year-over-year.
  • Net cash provided by operating activities was RMB47,326 million (US$6,621 million) and non-GAAP free cash flow was RMB30,488 million (US$4,265 million).

BUSINESS AND STRATEGIC UPDATES

Core Commerce

In September 2019, our China retail marketplaces had 785 million mobile MAUs, representing a quarterly net increase of 30 million. Annual active consumers on our China retail marketplaces reached 693 million for the 12 months ended September 30, 2019, compared to 674 million for the 12 months ended June 30, 2019.

Taobao – fast growing and dynamic consumer community. Taobao continues to redefine the shopping experience through content innovation, product enrichment and personalized recommendation. By leveraging data technology and business innovation, Taobao has incubated new community-based and content-driven features. For example, as of the end of fiscal year 2019, Idle Fish, our active C2C community and marketplace, had 1.3 million interest-based communities and 60 million active sellers of long-tail products including second-hand, recycled, refurbished and for-rent products. In fiscal year 2019, over 50% of Tmall merchants leveraged live streaming to engage with their customers. Each of these features generated over RMB100 billion in annual GMV in fiscal year 2019.

In the six months ended September 30, 2019, Taobao app's DAU growth accelerated as a result of healthy organic traffic growth and effective user targeting as well as increasing user engagement with interactive and entertainment features. The increase in annual active consumers on our China Retail marketplaces also reflected our continuing penetration into both developed and less developed areas in China.

Tmall – the leading consumer engagement and distribution platform for brands in China. Tmall continues to expand its leadership position as the consumer engagement and distribution platform of choice for brands in China. Tmall physical goods GMV, excluding unpaid orders, grew 26% year-over-year in the quarter ended September 30, 2019, with strong growth in fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) and consumer electronics. Our consumer segmentation initiatives have been well received by users, as evidenced by accelerating order growth from higher purchase frequency.

On October 21, 2019, we kicked off preparations for our 2019 11.11 Global Shopping Festival. This year, the festival will focus on catalyzing demand for new brands and products, as well as supporting the ongoing consumption upgrade across China. Over 200,000 brands, including more than 22,000 brands on Tmall Global, will participate in this event, with millions of new products available to consumers. In preparation for the festival, about 1,000 brands and merchants have upgraded to Tmall Flagship Store 2.0, which enables brands to develop sustainable engagement with their customers through interactive and personalized content, as well as integrated online and offline services.

New Retail – digital transformation of brick-and-mortar retailing.

Creating New – Our owned-and-operated grocery retail chain Freshippo (known as "Hema" in Chinese) continues to achieve robust same-store sales growth, implement multi-format retail strategies and introduce new initiatives to improve user experience and customer loyalty. In order to support its rapid growth, Freshippo strengthened its direct procurement of agricultural products and built a nationwide cold chain logistics network. As of September 30, 2019, there were 170 self-operated Freshippo stores in China, primarily located in tier 1 and tier 2 cities. While we continue to invest in the growth of this business, self-operated stores that have been in operation for over 12 months have achieved positive combined adjusted EBITDA during the quarter ended September 2019, demonstrating the strength and sustainability of the business model.

Transforming Old – We are making good progress in transforming our grocery retail partners through our Taoxianda business, which enables consumers to place orders through the Taobao app and receive delivery through an on-demand logistics platform that leverages the delivery network of our local consumer services business. We had digitally connected 485 of SunArt's hypermarket stores as of the end of August 2019 and drove online grocery orders to 6.5% of its overall revenue during August 2019. We continue to sign up new grocery partners and had enabled the digitization of over 800 offline retail stores across 278 cities as of August 2019.

Local consumer services – delivering strong growth and driving value for local merchants in less developed areas. During the quarter, we continued to achieve strong growth in daily GMV driven by robust order growth and increasing user order frequency. We are focusing on delivering value to restaurants and local service merchants by offering digital technology solutions and value-added services of the Alibaba Digital Economy. We also continue to penetrate into less developed areas with strong growth potential. During the quarter, GMV from less developed areas grew 45% year-over-year.

We are leveraging assets in the Alibaba Digital Economy to further benefit our local consumer services business. In the quarter ended September 30, 2019, about 39% of new food delivery customers came from the Alipay mobile app. The potential for our local consumer services to further penetrate users in other parts of the Alibaba Digital Economy is significant as only 25% of annual active consumers from our China retail marketplaces have tried these services.

Cainiao Network – increasing adoption of Cainiao's digital logistics parcel network and solutions. In urban areas, Cainiao has developed neighborhood delivery solutions with a combination of neighborhood and campus stations and residential self-pickup lockers, which we call Cainiao Post. These solutions have become an important complement to the last-mile delivery network of Cainiao's express delivery partners. The daily package volume handled by Cainiao Post increased by over 100% year-over-year for the month ended September 30, 2019.

Cainiao continues to focus on providing consumers with comprehensive logistics solutions. For example, the Cainiao Guoguo app offers crowdsourced parcel pick-up and delivery services that allow consumers and small businesses to send packages on-demand. For the twelve months ended August 31, 2019, the Cainiao Guoguo app had 100 million annual users. For the quarter, Cainiao Guoguo's parcel volume grew over 100% year-over-year. The Cainiao Guoguo app processed 38% of returned packages generated by consumers on our China retail marketplaces during the same period.

International – Strong growth in global markets. Our Southeast Asian e-commerce platform Lazada continues to witness growth momentum. For the fourth consecutive quarter, Lazada achieved over 100% year-over-year order growth, reflecting strong consumption demand in the apparel and accessories and FMCG categories. For the quarter, mobile DAUs continued to double year-over year, driven by effective user acquisition and engagement programs. Lazada leverages its proprietary logistics infrastructure to achieve fast and efficient order delivery, lowering logistics costs and enabling a better delivery experience for consumers.

Cloud Computing

Cloud computing revenue grew 64% year-over-year to RMB9,291 million (US$1,300 million) during the September 2019 quarter, primarily driven by an increase in average revenue per customer. Alibaba Cloud serves customers from a broad range of traditional industries beyond Internet and media industries. As of August 2019, 59% of companies listed in China are customers of Alibaba Cloud. The adoption of cloud services in China's public sector and traditional industries is driven not only by demand for cost-effective IT solutions, but also by transformation of business models and processes through digitization of customer insight, inventory, work flow, resource planning and other aspects. As an Internet technology company that has pioneered digital transformation, we believe that we are uniquely positioned to maintain our leadership in providing cloud services that are not only cost-effective but also enable businesses to operate more intelligently.

Digital Media and Entertainment

The synergies between our commerce and entertainment businesses continue to deliver a superior user experience that has helped to bring more paying subscribers onto the Youku online video platform. For the quarter, Youku's average daily subscribers increased 47% year-over-year. We continue to enrich our portfolio with original content that resonates with Chinese audiences. We are investing in original content production capability while ensuring cost efficiencies and return on investment, resulting in narrowing EBITA losses during the quarter.

Innovation Initiatives

The Amap app is the largest provider of mobile digital maps, navigation and real-time traffic information in China by daily active users. On October 1, 2019, the first day of the week-long National Day holiday in China, the Amap app achieved a record high of 118 million daily active users.

Update on Kaola Acquisition

In September 2019, we acquired NetEase's import e-commerce platform Kaola. We see great opportunities in user, revenue and cost synergies for the combined Tmall Global and Kaola businesses. China's import consumption market is still at an early growth stage, and the two businesses will be able to provide greater choices and better value for consumers. The Tmall Global and Kaola platforms have relatively low consumer overlap, and we plan for the Kaola app to continue to operate independently while integrating the technology, consumer insight and middle office functions to achieve optimization. As part of Alibaba, Kaola will benefit from our advanced data technology infrastructure and unrivalled consumer scale.

Update on Ant Financial

On September 23, 2019, we became a 33% equity stakeholder in Ant Financial. We recognized a one-time gain of RMB69.2 billion (US$9.7 billion) upon the receipt of the equity interest in Ant Financial. With our equity stake, the profit sharing arrangement under which we received 37.5% of Ant Financial's pre-tax profits has terminated.

Ant Financial has expanded its user base and business scale by building a unique value proposition through its ability to offer comprehensive financial solutions, including digital payment and digital finance services. As of June 30, 2019, annual active users of Alipay and its local e-wallet partners increased to approximately 1.2 billion globally, of which about 900 million were users from China.

Cash Flow from Operating Activities and Free Cash Flow

In the quarter ended September 30, 2019, net cash provided by operating activities was RMB47,326 million (US$6,621 million), an increase of 51% compared to RMB31,407 million in the same quarter of 2018. Free cash flow, a non-GAAP measurement of liquidity, in the quarter ended September 30, 2019 increased by 90% to RMB30,488 million (US$4,265 million), from RMB16,033 million in the same quarter of 2018, which was primarily due to our robust profitability growth as well as the timing of capital expenditure spending and licensed copyright acquisition. A reconciliation of net cash provided by operating activities to free cash flow is included at the end of this results announcement.

KEY OPERATIONAL METRICS*

 

September 30,

2018

 

June 30,

2019

 

September 30,

2019

 

Net adds

 

 

 

 

YoY

 

QoQ

China Commerce Retail:

 

 

 

 

 

Annual active consumers(1) (in millions)

601

674

693

92

19

Mobile monthly active users (MAUs)(2) (in millions)

666

755

785

119

30

__________________

*

For definitions of terms used but not defined in this results announcement, please refer to our annual report on Form 20-F for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2019.

(1)

For the twelve months ended on the respective dates.

(2)

For the month ended on the respective dates.

SEPTEMBER QUARTER SUMMARY FINANCIAL RESULTS

 

Three months ended September 30,

 

 

 

 

2018

 

2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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