Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (NYSE:BABA) today posted much better than expected fiscal second quarter earnings, sending its shares higher in early trading.
The Hangzhou, China-based company reported Q2 EPS of $0.79, nine cents better than Wall Street’s $0.70 estimate. Revenue surged 55% from last year to $5.14 billion, ahead of analysts’ view of $5.05 billion.
BABA noted that revenue from core commerce rose 41%, while cloud computing revenues jumped 130%. Revenue from digital media and entertainment jumped 302%, and innovation initiatives and other revenue rose 78% from the year-ago period.
Mobile Active Users (MAUs) in the company’s China retail marketplaces reached 450 million people in September, up 23 million (+5.3%) over June, while annual active buyers in its China retail marketplaces reached 439 million, up a more modest 1.15% from the prior quarter.
BABA’s cloud computing business continued to stand out, with number of paying customers for cloud services rose to 651,000 from 577,000 in the previous quarter, a gain of nearly 13%.
The company commented via press release:
“Alibaba Group had a great quarter. Our results reflect our increasing ability to monetize our 450 million mobile users through new and innovative social commerce experiences,” said Daniel Zhang, Chief Executive Officer of Alibaba Group. “Beyond the strong performance of our core commerce business, we are pleased with the continued rapid growth of our cloud computing business. We also see huge potential in our newly integrated digital media and entertainment unit. By combining engaging online experiences with highly relevant content, we delivered impressive financial and operational results in the quarter across the company.”
BABA came under fire this week as an SEC investigation into its alleged accounting fraud seemed to pick up steam, but the company made no mention of the development in its report. Some analysts believe the company is hiding massive losses in off-balance-sheet businesses, a practice that may be acceptable in China but certainly not in the United States.
Alibaba shares rose $3.50 (+3.46%) to $104.65 in premarket trading Wednesday. Prior to today’s report, BABA had gained 24.46% year-to-date, versus just a 3.5% rise in the benchmark S&P 500 during the same period.