HANGZHOU, China–(BUSINESS WIRE)–$BABA #alibaba–Alibaba Group Holding Limited (NYSE: BABA and HKEX: 9988 (HKD Counter) and 89988 (RMB Counter), “Alibaba” or “Alibaba Group”) today announced its financial results for the quarter ended September 30, 2023.


Alibaba Group delivered a solid quarter, marked by renewed momentum and energy across multiple businesses as a result of our strategic reorganization. As we embark on a new phase of development, we have clearly defined our strategic focus and priorities. We will maintain an entrepreneurial mindset. We are committed to investing for growth and making bold decisions where necessary. Through a more flexible organizational governance mechanism, we aim to capture brand new opportunities from the ongoing AI technological transformation and create more value for our customers,” said Eddie Wu, Chief Executive Officer of Alibaba Group.

We achieved a stable quarter with revenue increasing 9% year-over-year and income from operations and adjusted EBITA increasing 34% and 18% year-over-year, respectively,” said Toby Xu, Chief Financial Officer of Alibaba Group. “Under our capital management plan, we are prioritizing investment in technology and innovations for our businesses to drive new growth. We are confident in our business fundamentals and are pleased to announce our first annual dividend distribution for fiscal year 2023, with an aggregate amount of approximately US$2.5 billion, as part of our continued efforts to enhance shareholders’ return in addition to the ongoing share repurchase program.”

BUSINESS HIGHLIGHTS

In the quarter ended September 30, 2023:

  • Revenue was RMB224,790 million (US$30,810 million), an increase of 9% year-over-year.
  • Income from operations was RMB33,584 million (US$4,603 million), an increase of 34% year-over-year. The year-over-year increase was primarily attributable to an increase in adjusted EBITA, as well as a decrease in share-based compensation expense. We excluded share-based compensation expense from our non-GAAP measurements. Adjusted EBITA, a non-GAAP measurement, increased 18% year-over-year to RMB42,845 million (US$5,872 million).
  • Net income attributable to ordinary shareholders was RMB27,706 million (US$3,797 million). Net income was RMB26,696 million (US$3,659 million), compared to net loss of RMB22,467 million in the same quarter of 2022, primarily attributable to a net gain arising from the increase in fair value of our equity investments, compared to a net loss from these investments in the same quarter last year, and an increase in adjusted EBITA. We excluded net gains or losses arising from the changes in fair value of our investments from our non-GAAP measurements. Non-GAAP net income was RMB40,188 million (US$5,508 million), an increase of 19% year-over-year.
  • Diluted earnings per ADS was RMB10.77 (US$1.48) and diluted earnings per share was RMB1.35 (US$0.19 or HK$1.47). Non-GAAP diluted earnings per ADS was RMB15.63 (US$2.14), an increase of 21% year-over-year and non-GAAP diluted earnings per share was RMB1.95 (US$0.27 or HK$2.13), an increase of 21% year-over-year.
  • Net cash provided by operating activities was RMB49,231 million (US$6,748 million), an increase of 4% compared to RMB47,112 million in the same quarter of 2022. Free cash flow, a non-GAAP measurement of liquidity, was RMB45,220 million (US$6,198 million), an increase of 27% compared to RMB35,709 million in the same quarter of 2022.

BUSINESS AND STRATEGIC UPDATES

Taobao and Tmall Group

Our Taobao and Tmall Group’s strategy is to put users first, build an ecosystem for brands and merchants to thrive on our platform, and realize AI technology-driven innovation. Taobao app is at the core of this strategy as a one-stop destination for consumption and daily life needs serving the largest number of users. We continue to improve the value proposition of Taobao app by (i) increasing content to encourage user engagement, (ii) enhancing price-competitive product supply by onboarding more merchants and targeting more effectively, and (iii) introducing AI applications and tools to improve user experience and seller efficiency.

For the month ended September 30, 2023, we achieved healthy year-over-year organic growth of Taobao app users as a result of our content and price-competitive strategy. Our investments to provide more interactive content led to strong growth in user time spent on short-form video content. Importantly, the number of transacting buyers and order volume also increased during the quarter, as we continue to increase interactive content and broaden assortment of price-competitive products offered by both existing and new merchants. In addition, the number of 88VIP members increased double-digits year-over-year, surpassing 30 million during the quarter. Taobao and Tmall Group successfully concluded its 15th annual 11.11 Global Shopping Festival, which recorded positive year-over-year growth in participating merchants, transacting buyers and order volume compared to the same period last year.

Taobao and Tmall Group continues to expand AI products and services for its merchant operation platform and monetization platform (Alimama). It now offers AI tools that simplify and automate online store operations, such as new store design, product photo and description generation, customer service and financial and order management, all of which improve merchants’ operating efficiency. Additionally, in August, Taobao and Tmall Group upgraded one of its key advertising platforms, Wanxiangtai Unbounded Edition (万相台无界版), with the aim of growing the number of merchants who advertise with us by facilitating them to allocate their advertising budgets in all available properties within the Alibaba ecosystem using a single interface. The updated edition features AI technologies that provide (i) data analysis and insights to optimize advertising spending, (ii) marketing tools that intelligently locate targeted customers and (iii) AI-generated content for advertising. These proprietary AI technologies enhance merchants’ efficiency and improve conversion and return on investment for merchants. We have seen strong adoption of Wanxiangtai Unbounded Edition by both new and existing merchants during the quarter.

Xianyu (闲鱼), a fun community and marketplace, continues to grow strongly with DAU up over 20% year-over-year in the month ended September 30, 2023. Through Xianyu, users can find a rich variety of secondhand, recycled, for-rent and vintage products as well as interest-based content. Its revenue, which consists of advertising, commission and value-added services such as fees from product recycling, consignment sales and product inspection, grew rapidly year-over-year during the quarter.

Alibaba International Digital Commerce Group (“AIDC”)

Alibaba International Digital Commerce Group operates various retail and wholesale marketplaces including Lazada, AliExpress, Trendyol, Daraz, Miravia and Alibaba.com. During the September quarter, the combined order growth of AIDC’s retail businesses was approximately 28% year-over-year, driven by solid performance from all major retail platforms. During the quarter, revenue from AIDC exhibited robust growth, increasing by 53% year-over-year.

AliExpress is executing its growth strategy under multiple business models – the established marketplace business, which saw double-digit growth year-over-year in the number of orders during this quarter, and Choice, a new model launched in early 2023 through which AliExpress delivers enhanced experience to consumers by working with merchants to ensure better control of product selection and quality as well as speed of logistics. Choice works closely with Cainiao to improve consumer experience, recently rolling out a 5-day delivery guarantee program in selected European countries. As a result the order volume of Choice ramped up rapidly during the quarter.

Lazada recorded double-digit order growth year-over-year during the quarter. Lazada continues to focus on improving monetization. As a result, losses per order narrowed quarter-over-quarter and year-over-year.

Trendyol delivered robust order growth while investing in its expansion outside Türkiye. By leveraging its product sourcing capabilities and supply chain advantages, Trendyol further expanded its footprint in the region.

Local Services Group

For the quarter ended September 30, 2023, revenue from Local Services Group grew 16% year-over-year to RMB15,564 million (US$2,133 million), driven by strong growth in both Ele.me and Amap businesses. During this quarter, order growth of Local Services Group was nearly 20% year-over-year. Annual active consumers of Local Services Group for the twelve months ended September 30, 2023 continued to grow quarter-over-quarter due to improved acquisition and retention of consumers as well as increasing user demand. For this quarter, its losses continued to narrow driven by improving overall business scale and efficiency.

To-Home

For the quarter ended September 30, 2023, Ele.me’s overall order volume, consisting of both restaurant and non-restaurant orders, grew year-over-year and quarter-over-quarter driven by increasing number of transacting users and higher purchase frequency per user. As a result of successful marketing campaigns, Ele.me’s restaurant delivery orders grew by double-digits year-over-year this quarter. In addition, Ele.me is making significant progress in the non-restaurant delivery category. During the quarter, non-restaurant delivery orders also grew by double-digits year-over-year, driven by strong consumer demands during festivals and marketing campaigns, such as flower delivery on Chinese Valentine’s Day, “24/7 Medicine Delivery” service campaign, and new iPhone 15 launch on September 22, 2023. For the quarter ended September 30, 2023, Ele.me’s losses continued to narrow year-over-year driven by improving operating efficiency and increasing scale.

To-Destination

For the quarter ended September 30, 2023, order growth of Amap increased rapidly year-over-year, due to its strengthening position as a comprehensive “To-Destination” service platform as well as strong travel demand during this summer season. During an eight-day holiday period from September 29 to October 6 that combined Mid-Autumn Festival and National Day holiday, Amap recorded an all-time high of over 280 million peak daily active users as the Chinese economy experienced strong recovery in travel demand.

Cainiao Smart Logistics Network Limited (“Cainiao”)

For the quarter ended September 30, 2023, revenue from Cainiao grew 25% year-over-year to RMB22,823 million (US$3,128 million), primarily driven by revenue from cross-border fulfillment solutions.

Cainiao continues to execute its strategy of building a global smart logistics network, reinforcing comprehensive end-to-end capabilities in cross-border logistics solutions. During the quarter, Cainiao rolled out its premium 5-day delivery service for consumers in eight countries and regions. The project leverages Cainiao’s comprehensive capabilities in full-chain operational optimization across first-mile pick-up, line haul, customs clearance, sortation, and last-mile delivery.

Cainiao leverages technology to remain competitive. To support AliExpress’ Choice expansion, Cainiao provided parcel bundling and direct shipping capabilities through data analytics and algorithms that reduce delivery time and improve efficiency.

Cloud Intelligence Group

For the quarter ended September 30, 2023, revenue from Cloud Intelligence Group was RMB27,648 million (US$3,789 million), a growth of 2% year-over-year.

We continue to improve revenue quality by reducing the revenue from project-based contracts that are of low margins. On the other hand, revenues from public cloud products and services increased during this quarter which drove improved profitability.

From October 31 to November 2, we held our 15th annual cloud computing developer summit and exhibition, the Apsara Conference 2023, during which Alibaba Cloud Intelligence Group unveiled new technologies that had been under development. Highlights of our proprietary technologies include:

  • Generative AI Models: Alibaba’s proprietary large language model (LLM) Tongyi Qianwen (通义千问) launched an upgraded 2.0 version, with strong capabilities in understanding complex instructions, reasoning, memorizing and reducing hallucination. We also rolled out eight vertical models for specific industries including finance and gaming, as well as business enhancement capabilities such as code generation and customer support.
  • Ecosystem: We have built one of the largest open-source AI developer communities in China. Our developer community ModelScope has gathered over 2,300 AI models, attracting 2.8 million AI developers and over 100 million cumulative model downloads since the launch of this community. We are also making available the open-source version of our Tongyi Qianwen models in ModelScope, which we have announced will include a version with 72 billion-parameter after the launch of our 7 billion-parameter and 14 billion-parameter models.
  • Alibaba Cloud Bailian (阿里云百炼): One-stop AI application development platform Alibaba Cloud Bailian, which provides LLM application development services in one single platform offering a range of high performing foundation models including those from third parties. It simplifies the large model training process and allows developers to focus on model application innovation. In addition, it provides a secure environment for customer data protection during the training process.

Alibaba Cloud supported the first “Asian Games on the Cloud,” to facilitate more intelligent, sustainable, sophisticated and efficient Asian Games. Using cloud-native technology running on Alibaba Cloud’s container services, we enabled more agile, scalable and efficient operations of the event.

Digital Media and Entertainment Group

During the quarter ended September 30, 2023, revenue of Digital Media and Entertainment Group was RMB5,779 million (US$792 million), an increase of 11% year-over-year, driven by strong revenue growth of offline entertainment businesses of Damai and Alibaba Pictures, as well as increase in Youku’s subscription revenue, partly offset by the decrease in Youku’s advertising revenue.

Businesses within the segment continue to achieve synergies. On September 19, 2023, Alibaba Pictures announced its acquisition of Damai, aiming to leverage Damai’s leading position in the offline performance market to expand influence in the offline entertainment industry. Benefiting from the recovery of offline entertainment market and strong demand in the summer, Damai maintained its industry-leading position with triple-digit GMV growth and improving profitability year-over-year during the quarter. In August, Damai and Youku jointly sold tickets of TFBoys’ 10th anniversary concert, for offline performance and online broadcasting, respectively. The exclusive online broadcasting attracted more than 1.68 million viewers and achieved more than 100 million times of interaction, which broke the record for online paid performances on Youku.

China’s box office during the summer movie season hit record high this year. No More Bets (孤注一掷) and Lost in the Stars (消失的她), both co-produced by Alibaba Pictures, were the top two performers in terms of box office in China during summer vacation. Chang’an (长安三万里), an animation for which Alibaba Pictures was the co-producer, leading promoter and distributor, was the best performing animation movie in terms of box office so far in 2023.

All Others

DingTalk

Starting from the quarter ended September 30, 2023, we reclassified the result of our DingTalk business, which was previously reported under Cloud Intelligence Group to All others, the purpose of which was to provide DingTalk with greater autonomy to promote innovation and enhance competitiveness.

DingTalk, our digital collaboration workplace and application development platform, offers new ways of working, sharing and collaboration through the integration of latest AI models. As of September 30, 2023, 17 product lines of DingTalk had been fully integrated with large models. DingTalk also opened up its intelligent AI PaaS platform to customers and ecosystem partners, which will help participants in the ecosystem reinvent their products.

Intelligent Information Platform

Our Intelligent Information Platform includes Quark (夸克), UCWeb, and other businesses. During the month ended September 30, 2023, Quark continued to grow strongly with DAUs up over 35% year-over-year. Quark provides young users with a one-stop platform for information search, storage and consumption. It offers tools and services, such as smart search, Quark cloud drive, AI camera, Quark learning and Quark documents, to help users better acquire and utilize a variety of digital content and information for learning and work purposes.

Fliggy

Fliggy, a leading online travel platform, provides comprehensive services to meet consumers’ travel needs. During the quarter ended September 30, 2023, Fliggy’s GMV increased rapidly year-over-year driven by strong recovery in both domestic and international travel demands.

Updates on ESG Initiatives

Empowering More Sustainable and Inclusive Asian Games

Alibaba Group contributed to promote the sustainability and inclusiveness of the 19th Asian Games and the 4th Asian Para Games in Hangzhou.

  • Alibaba Cloud introduced its digital avatar, Xiaomo (小莫), which supports two-way translation between sign language and Chinese spoken language. Xiaomo provided on-site assistance to audience with hearing impairments during the Asian Para Games.
  • Amap, by leveraging its “Wheelchair Navigation” feature, assisted Hangzhou Disabled Persons’ Federation in the technological upgrade of its “Online Accessible Service” platform in order to provide users with more detailed accessible travel planning and navigation services.

Enhancing Community Resilience

In August 2023, Alibaba Foundation donated RMB30 million to support Typhoon “Doksuri” rescue efforts in Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei Province and other regions. Alibaba Philanthropy mobilized Freshippo (Hema), RT-Mart, 1688.com and other businesses to strengthen supply chains and distribute emergency supplies across severely impacted regions. Alibaba Philanthropy Platform has also launched an online flood relief initiative which provides public fundraising channels for other non-profit organizations.

Impacts of Recent U.S. Export Controls Expansion

In October 2023, the United States expanded its export control rules to further restrict the export to China of advanced computing chips and semiconductor manufacturing equipment. We believe that these new restrictions may materially and adversely affect Cloud Intelligence Group’s ability to offer products and services and to perform under existing contracts, thereby negatively affecting our results of operations and financial condition. These new restrictions may also affect our businesses more generally by limiting our ability to upgrade our technological capabilities.

Update on Business Group Spin-offs and Capital Raisings

Cloud Intelligence Group

The recent expansion of U.S. restrictions on export of advanced computing chips has created uncertainties for the prospects of Cloud Intelligence Group. We believe that a full spin-off of Cloud Intelligence Group may not achieve the intended effect of shareholder value enhancement. Accordingly, we have decided to not proceed with a full spin-off, and instead we will focus on developing a sustainable growth model for Cloud Intelligence Group under the fluid circumstances.

Alibaba International Digital Commerce Group

Alibaba International Digital Commerce Group is in preparation for external fundraising.

Cainiao

Cainiao Smart Logistics Network Limited has applied for an initial public offering in Hong Kong and has submitted its A1 filing to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

Freshippo (Hema)

Freshippo (Hema)’s plan for an initial public offering has been put on hold as we evaluate market conditions and other factors that would contribute to a successful transaction to enhance shareholder value.

Shareholder Return Activities

Our board of directors has approved an annual cash dividend for fiscal year 2023 in the amount of US$0.125 per ordinary share or US$1.00 per ADS, payable in U.S. dollars, to holders of ordinary shares and holders of ADSs, as of the close of business on December 21, 2023, Hong Kong Time and New York Time, respectively. The aggregate amount of the dividend will be approximately US$2.5 billion. Going forward, we will continue to review and determine the dividend amount based on factors such as business fundamentals, capital requirements, among others, on an annual basis.

For holders of ordinary shares, in order to qualify for the dividend, all valid documents for the transfers of shares accompanied by the relevant share certificates must be lodged with the Company’s Hong Kong branch share registrar, Computershare Hong Kong Investor Services Limited, at Shops 1712-1716, 17th Floor, Hopewell Centre, 183 Queen’s Road East, Wanchai, Hong Kong, not later than 4:30 p.m. on December 21, 2023, Hong Kong Time. The payment date is expected to be on or around January 11, 2024 for holders of ordinary shares and on or around January 18, 2024 for holders of ADSs.

In addition, during the quarter ended September 30, 2023, we repurchased approximately 18.6 million ADSs (the equivalent of 148.4 million ordinary shares) for approximately US$1.7 billion under our share repurchase program. As of September 30, 2023, we had approximately 20.3 billion ordinary shares (the equivalent of 2.5 billion ADSs) outstanding, a reduction of 138.9 million ordinary shares (the equivalent of approximately 17.4 million ADSs) from last quarter, and US$14.6 billion remained under the current share buyback program authorized by the Board, which is effective through March 2025.

SEPTEMBER QUARTER SUMMARY FINANCIAL RESULTS

 

Three months ended September 30,

 

 

2022

2023

 

 

RMB

RMB

US$

YoY %

Change

 

(in millions, except percentages and per share amounts)

 

 

 

 

 

Revenue

207,176

224,790

30,810

9%

 

 

 

 

 

Income from operations

25,137

33,584

4,603

34%(2)

Operating margin

12%

15%

 

 

Adjusted EBITDA(1)

43,311

49,237

6,748

14%(3)

Adjusted EBITDA margin(1)

21%

22%

 

 

Adjusted EBITA(1)

36,164

42,845

5,872

18%(3)

Adjusted EBITA margin(1)

17%

19%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net (loss) income

(22,467)(4)

26,696(4)

3,659

N/A

Net (loss) income attributable to ordinary shareholders

(20,561)(4)

27,706(4)

3,797

N/A

Non-GAAP net income(1)

33,820

40,188

5,508

19%(3)

 

 

 

 

 

Diluted (loss) earnings per share(5)

(0.97)(4)

1.35(4)

0.19

N/A

Diluted (loss) earnings per ADS(5)

(7.77)(4)

10.77(4)

1.48

N/A

Non-GAAP diluted earnings per share(1) (5)

1.61

1.95

0.27

21%(3)(6)

Non-GAAP diluted earnings per ADS(1) (5)

12.92

15.63

2.14

21%(3)(6)

________________

(1)

See the sections entitled “Non-GAAP Financial Measures” and “Reconciliations of Non-GAAP Measures to the Nearest Comparable U.S. GAAP Measures” for more information about the non-GAAP measures referred to within this results announcement.

(2)

The year-over-year increase was primarily attributable to an increase in adjusted EBITA, as well as a decrease in share-based compensation expense.

(3)

The year-over-year increases were primarily contributed by revenue growth and improved operating efficiency.

(4)

The year-over-year change was primarily attributable to a net gain arising from the increase in fair value of our equity investments, compared to a net loss from these investments in the same quarter last year, and an increase in adjusted EBITA.

(5)

Each ADS represents eight ordinary shares.

(6)

The year-over-year percentages as stated are calculated based on the exact amount and there may be minor differences from the year-over-year percentages calculated based on the RMB amounts after rounding.

Contacts

Investor Relations Contact
Rob Lin

Head of Investor Relations

Alibaba Group Holding Limited

investor@alibaba-inc.com

Media Contacts
Cathy Yan

cathy.yan@alibaba-inc.com

Ivy Ke

ivy.ke@alibaba-inc.com

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