China-based Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. has announced that its fiscal fourth-quarter revenue soared 60% to $5.6 billion – the highest growth rate since the company’s IPO. For the full fiscal year, sales increased by 56% to $22.9 billion. The increases were mainly driven by the robust revenue growth of its China commerce retail business and Alibaba Cloud, as well as the consolidation of recently acquired businesses Youku Tudou and Lazada, the company said. The China-based e-commerce firm, which sells promotional products online, also announced a two-year stock buyback program valued at close to $6 billion.
“Alibaba Group had another outstanding quarter and fiscal year, demonstrating our ability to successfully engage and monetize the half a billion consumers across our platforms,” said Daniel Zhang, CEO of Alibaba Group, in the earnings report. “Our core commerce segment continued its significant growth and strong cash flow at large scale, enabling our aggressive investment in cloud computing, digital media and entertainment to drive the digital transformation of the economy and high-quality consumption across China.”
Despite the revenue growth, Alibaba’s adjusted earnings-per-share of 4.35 yuan failed to meet estimates of 4.51 yuan. Income taxes played a major role, skyrocketing 149% to 4.6 billion yuan in the quarter. The company reported that it also incurred additional taxes from the sale of certain unspecified investments. Initially, Alibaba shares fell as much as 5.6% to $114 in New York, the biggest intraday drop in almost a year.
While the company explores new revenue streams with projects related to data, cloud computing, artificial intelligence and logistics, e-commerce continues to generate the vast majority of Alibaba’s revenue. For the quarter, sales across its e-commerce businesses rose 47% to $4.5 billion. Alibaba’s cloud computing business reached triple-digit growth, producing $314 million. Its digital media and entertainment business increased 234% to $571 million.
The company has ramped up expansion outside of China and plans to host a conference in Detroit next month, which 1,000 U.S. businesses are expected to attend. The event stems from Alibaba Founder Jack Ma’s meeting with Donald Trump earlier this year, where Ma pledged to create one million U.S. jobs by enabling American small businesses to sell goods on Alibaba’s e-commerce platform.