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Alibaba's Q3 cloud revenue up 104 percent, hits $2.2 billion annual run rate

Alibaba is using the Amazon Web Services playbook well in China.

Alibaba's cloud computing unit delivered fiscal third quarter revenue of $553 million, up 104 percent from a year ago as the company continues to launch services at a rapid clip.

For the third quarter, Alibaba said it launched 396 new products and features and rolled out artificial intelligence tools throughout its portfolio.

Alibaba also said it added enterprise customers such as Watsons China, a health and beauty retailer, Geely, an automaker, and Beijing Capital International Airport.

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Adjusted EBITA for the quarter was a loss of $28 million for the cloud unit, said Alibaba.

For the nine months ended Dec. 31, Alibaba's cloud unit delivered revenue of $1.38 billion.

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Like Amazon, Alibaba is primarily an e-commerce company, but its cloud business is likely to generate better profit margins.

Overall, Alibaba reported net income of $3.59 billion, or $1.41 a share, on revenue of $12.76 billion. Monthly active users on Alibaba's China marketplaces hit 580 million in December.