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Alibaba earnings tripled in first quarter

By Gao Yuan in Beijing and Yu Wei in San Francisco | China Daily | Updated: 2013-07-18 11:09

Alibaba's earnings nearly tripled in the first quarter, according to Yahoo Inc, a major shareholder in the Chinese e-commerce company.

Earnings of the world's biggest online retailer surged to $669 million in the first quarter compared with $220 million a year ago, Yahoo said during a financial presentation on Wednesday.

Alibaba's revenue jumped to $1.38 billion, an increase of 71 percent year-on-year. Yahoo acquired a 40 percent stake in Alibaba for $1 billion in 2005. Currently, Yahoo owns about 24 percent of Alibaba, valued at $8.1 billion.

Alibaba's net income has beaten its rival Tencent, China's largest listed Internet company, for the second consecutive quarter since the fourth quarter of last year. Meanwhile, China's leading search engine Baidu's net profit is $330 million in the first quarter.

The available data suggests that Alibaba has become the most profitable Internet company in China.

The earnings report came a week after Hangzhou-based Alibaba confirmed that it is preparing an initial public offering, which could be worth $100 billion.

Jonathan Lu, Alibaba's newly appointed CEO, said last week that the company is seeking an IPO in New York or Hong Kong.

Alibaba's founder Jack Ma said the company is likely to go public within five years.

However, some industry analysts expect it could come much earlier.

According to Hong Kong financial website AASTOCKS, Alibaba already has a timetable for an IPO, which is likely to be completed by September or no later than the end of this year.

The most logical place to go would be Hong Kong.

Investment bankers say Alibaba Group is expected to raise about $16 billion by issuing 20 percent new shares through the IPO.

The projected IPO will be the largest since Facebook's massive $104 billion offering in May 2012.

Alibaba has just gotten $8 billion in syndicated loans from 13 banks last month. In April, the company spent $586 million for an 18 percent share of Sina Weibo.

According to the McKinsey report, China's online retail sales have more than doubled year on year from 2003-2011. From 2011 to 2015, it is estimated the increase will triple, up to $ 395 billion.

Transactions made on Taobao and Tmall, the customer-to-customer and business-to-customer websites owned by Alibaba, reached 1 trillion yuan (about $161 billion) last year.

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