(Yicai Global) Feb. 2 -- Chinese internet behemoth Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. has again raised its revenue growth target for this fiscal year after a strong third quarter in which earnings stood at CNY83.028 billion (USD12.761 billion), an annual increase of 56 percent.
The Hangzhou-based group’s core e-commerce sector saw robust growth with revenue of CNY73.244 billion (USD11.257 billion), up 57 percent on the year, the firm said in a statement yesterday.
Net profit for the quarter, ending 31 Dec., came to CNY23.332 billion (USD3.586 billion), an increase of 36 percent over the same period of last year. Based on the strong performance and expected business growth for the fourth quarter, it raised earnings guidance from a range of 49 percent to 53 percent to 55 percent to 56 percent.
Alibaba has now completed its initial layout on the New Retail sector and expects its presence to gain strong momentum. The company attributes strong gains in its share price to a successful first year in the industry, boosting the capital market's confidence in the company’s continued rapid growth.
This marks the second time that Alibaba has raised its fiscal year revenue target. Alibaba raised revenue guidance from 45 percent to 49 percent to between 49 percent and 53 percent following a good showing in the second quarter, which significantly exceeded the forecasted 36 percent to 38 percent.
"We are very pleased to be able to continue to make breakthroughs in new retail areas and this concept was also fully demonstrated in the double 11 Singles Day online shopping event last year, which hit a record high. We have expanded the scale and footprint in the New Retail area, leveraging mobile and enterprise technology to deliver a new retail concept and bring a converged online-to-offline consumer experience," said Daniel Zhang, Alibaba CEO after the earnings announcement.
"Our core business generated as much as USD7.1 billion in free cash flow during the quarter, which supported our investment in New Retail, cloud computing, digital entertainment and globalization," Alibaba CFO Maggie Wu said.
Alibaba already established a presence in New Retail through its backing of growing supermarket chain Hema Fresh Food. Tech companies in China are increasingly looking to expand their businesses into brick and mortar stores that combine online and offline shopping experiences, a key new sector.