Alibaba triples Q1 profit to $669M on higher margins

Chinese e-commerce giant builds strong momentum ahead of possible IPO, posting first quarter earnings with improved profit margins at 48.4 percent, over ninety times higher than U.S rival Amazon.
Written by Ryan Huang, Contributor

Alibaba Group has tripled its net profit in the first quarter to US$669 million on the back of rising profitability.

Alibaba triples Q1 profit to $669M on higher margins.

For the three months ended June, it recorded margins of 48.4 percent--much higher than U.S. rivals such as Amazon (0.51 percent) and eBay (18.1 percent), noted Bloomberg on Wednesday. Alibaba's profitability is also double that of Apple's 21.9 percent in the same period.

The Chinese e-commerce giant saw 71 percent rise in revenue for the first quarter at US$1.38 billion, according to a presentation by Yahoo, which owns a quarter of the company. Alibaba's showing was a bright spot for the U.S. firm's second quarter results.

While Alibaba has not commited to a timetable for an IPO, founder Jack Ma last year said the company could go public within five years. Analysts have valued the company as high as US$100 billion, and believe another quarter of strong earnings will put it in good position for a listing in the second half of 2013.

In the previous quarter, Alibaba more than doubled its Q4 net profit to US$642.2 million on the back of a 80 percent rise in revenue at US$1.84 billion--a 35 percent profit margin. In the same period, Amazon booked Q1 earnings at US$130 million on the back of revenue at $13.18 billion.

Earlier this week, Alibaba announced a "strategic investment" in travel Web site Qyer. Financial details were not disclosed. The transaction followed a string of other purchases including acquiring a 28 percent stake in Chinese digital map provider, AutoNavi, in May for US$294 million. In April, it announced plans to buy an 18 percent stake in China's largest microblogging site, Sina Weibo, for US$586 million.

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