Alibaba - IMD Business School
News Stories · China

Alibaba posts weaker than expected results, but new IMD research shows company strategy is still delivering value

Alibaba, China’s US-listed e-commerce giant, missed market expectations for revenue in the December quarter, but announced it is boosting the size of its share buyback program by $25bn as shares jumped 5% on the news and then settled back to a 5% discount on the day.
February 2024

Alibaba is one of the companies analyzed in the IMD China Company Transformation Indicator (CCTI), covering the tech industry in China, which is published today. The CCTI takes a deep dive into the top companies in the sector, using a variety of metrics, to better understand these companies’ strategies and longer-term priorities.

Alibaba’s revenues, which missed expectations, were reported at 260.35bn Chinese yuan ($36.6bn) for the third quarter to December (versus the expected 262.07bn yuan), growing just 5% year-on-year, impacted by slow growth in the company’s e-commerce and cloud computing businesses.

Commenting on the results, Mark J Greeven, Professor of Innovation and Strategy at IMD and Chief Executive of IMD China, said, “Although they fall below expectations, the results are quite respectable considering the transformation the company is pushing through. However, it is this restructuring and persistent focus on its core businesses that continues to give Alibaba a sustainable lead over the other tech companies in China, if only for its expansive reach, data foundations, and access to the country’s top talent.”

In a statement, recently appointed Alibaba CEO Eddie Wu said the company’s focus was on growth in e-commerce and cloud.

“Our top priority is to reignite the growth of our core businesses: e-commerce and cloud computing. We will step up investment to improve users’ core experiences to drive growth in Taobao and Tmall Group and strengthen market leadership in the coming year.”