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Alibaba.com Maintains Stable Growth amid Economic Downturn


Alibaba.com Limited (SEHK: 1688), a business-to-business (B2B) platform operator in China, gave a shining performance in 2008, as small- and medium-sized companies (SMEs) flocked to e-commerce amid the industry recession.

On March 19, 2009, the Hangzhou-headquartered e-commerce giant released its financial results for 2008, saying net profits soared 95% from the previous year to CNY 1.205 billion.

Total revenue rose 39% year on year to CNY 3.001 billion.

A flock of SMEs turned to e-commerce in face of the global economic crisis, pushing up opportunities for e-commerce platforms like Alibaba.com, said David Wei, chief executive officer for the Hong Kong-listed company. Alibab.com saw sharp increases in both global SME user number and China revenue in the past year.

The financial crisis, in fact, will enable Alibaba.com to consolidate its leadership in the B2B e-commerce sector, said Mr. Wei, noting that the company will strengthen investment and expansion in 2009.

More and more companies around the world are taking advantage of e-commerce as a way to cut costs and improve efficiency when the financial crisis takes its toll on the global economy.

The B2B platform operator witnessed its registered user number and online store number in 2008 ascend 10.5 million and 1.7 million from the prior year, respectively.

Notably, it lured 3.5 million registered users for its international B2B platform alibaba.com, mounting 80% year on year and hitting a record high. Its paying user number grew 41% or 126,000, an all-time-high, from 2007 to 432,031.

In addition, alibaba.com.cn, the platform targeting domestic users, contributed 36% to the total revenue in the year, versus 28% from 2007, thanks to the mounting Internet user number in China and the growing domestic economy.

As of December 31, 2008, alibaba.com.cn had booked 372,867 TrustPass members, up 40% or 106,858 from a year earlier. Revenue from its domestic platform amounted to CNY 1.094 billion, hiking 78% year on year.

Alibaba.com maintained a stable growth in 2008, a tough year to most of the companies, said Mr. Wei, attributing the polished performance in part to the company’s swift response to the financial turmoil.

Plenty of the SMEs shifted focus to e-commerce in a bid to seek new customers and set foot in new markets in the year, especially in the fourth quarter, when Alibaba.com rolled out new entry-level Gold Supplier Starter Pack and enhanced its Gold Supplier service.

As of December 31, 2008, Alibaba.com’s cash and bank deposit added up to CNY 6.612 billion, jumping 25% from CNY 5.274 billion a year ago.

(USD 1 = CNY 6.83)