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Alibaba Reports Growth in Cloud, Media and Social Commerce

The recent release of financial results for the quarter and fiscal year ended March 31, 2021 for Alibaba Group Holding Limited (NYSE: BABA and HKEX: 9988) saw overall revenue up with growth in Cloud Computing, Digital Media and Entertainment, and Social Media.

In the March Quarter 2021:

  • Revenue was RMB187.4 billion (US$28.6 billion), an increase of 64% YoY
  • Adjusted EBITDA increased 18% YoY to RMB29.9 billion (US$4.6 billion) and adjusted EBITA increased 14% YoY to RMB22.6 billion (US$3.5 billion)
  • Due to an Anti-monopoly Fine levied by China’s State Administration for Market Regulation, there was a loss from operations of RMB7.7 billion (US$1.2 billion).

Of the fine, the company says “excluding this one-time impact, income from operations would have been RMB10.6 billion (US$1.6 billion), an increase of 48% YoY. Net loss attributable to ordinary shareholders was RMB5.5 billion (US$0.8 billion), primarily due to the fine; excluding this impact and certain other items, non-GAAP net income was RMB26.2 billion (US$4.0 billion), an increase of 18% YoY”. 

For Fiscal Year 2021:

  • Revenue was RMB717.3 billion (US$109.5 billion), an increase of 41% YoY
  • Adjusted EBITDA increased 25% YoY to RMB196.8 billion (US$30.0 billion), and adjusted EBITA increased 24% YoY to RMB170.5 billion (US$26.0 billion)
  • Non-GAAP net income was RMB172.0 billion (US$26.3 billion), an increase of 30% YoY
  • Gross merchandise value transacted in the Alibaba Ecosystem in fiscal 2021 was RMB8.1 trillion (US$1.2 trillion)

Cloud Computing

Taking in Elastic Computing, Database and Serverless technologies, Alibaba’s cloud computing revenue grew 50% year-over-year, to RMB60,120 million (US$9,176 million), primarily driven by growth in revenue from customers in the Internet, public sector and finance industries.

In the March 2021 quarter, cloud computing revenue grew 37% year-over-year to RMB16,761 million (US$2,558 million). According to the company, “the slower revenue growth during the quarter was primarily due to revenue decline from a top cloud customer in the Internet industry. This customer, which has a sizeable presence outside of China that used our overseas cloud services in the past, has decided to terminate the relationship with respect to their international business due to non-product related requirements.”

Digital Media and Entertainment

During fiscal year 2021, online video and streaming platform Youku continued to focus on delivering a superior user experience and increasing paying subscribers. Youku’s average daily subscriber base continued to grow at a healthy rate, increasing 35% year-over-year during the fiscal year.

According to the company, “The increase in paying subscribers was driven by offerings of original and exclusive content, effective targeting of new subscribers and a greater contribution from the 88VIP membership program on our China retail marketplaces. We invested in original and exclusive content while ensuring cost efficiencies and return on investment, which resulted in narrowing annual adjusted EBITA losses year-over-year in fiscal year 2021.”

Despite the challenges imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic on cinemas and live performance industries, Alibaba Pictures significantly narrowed its losses in fiscal year 2021, given diversification of its revenue stream beyond film and ticketing business and enhanced operational efficiency of its online ticketing platform (Tao Piao Piao) with lowered sales and marketing expenses.

According to the company, “Alibaba Pictures will continue to diversify its businesses to capture revenue opportunities in the entire entertainment value chain, including content development, production, promotion and distribution, as well as IP commercialisation. We believe these initiatives will ensure Alibaba Pictures’ long-term growth potential with a diversified revenue stream.”

Taobao Live GMV

The Taobao app is one of the largest social commerce platforms in China, offering rich, highly relevant and curated content and features that enable merchants to engage with consumers through live-streaming, short-form videos, interactive games and microblogs. Among these interactive features, livestreaming is one of the fastest growing with significant scale. Taobao Live GMV reached over RMB500 billion (US$76.3 billion) in fiscal year 2021.


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