HANGZHOU, China -- Alibaba Group Holding Limited today announced its financial results for the quarter ended March 31, 2018 and fiscal year then ended.
"Alibaba Group had an excellent quarter and fiscal year, driven by robust growth in our core commerce business and investments we have made over the past several years in longer-term growth initiatives," said Daniel Zhang, Chief Executive Officer of Alibaba Group. "With the continuing roll out of our New Retail strategy, our e-commerce platform is developing into the leading retail infrastructure of China. During the past year we also doubled down on technology development, cloud computing, logistics, digital entertainment and local services so that we are in a position to capture consumption growth in China and other emerging markets."
"Fiscal 2018 culminated with a quarter we are very proud of. Full year revenue grew 58%, core commerce revenue grew 60%, with profit growth of over 40% and annual free cash flow of US$15.8 billion," said Maggie Wu, Chief Financial Officer of Alibaba Group. "Looking ahead to fiscal 2019, we expect overall revenue growth above 60%, reflecting our confidence in our core business as well as positive momentum in new businesses. We expect our new growth initiatives will drive long-term, sustainable value for our customers and partners and increase our total addressable market."
In the quarter ended March 31, 2018:
- Revenue was RMB61,932 million (US$9,873 million), an increase of 61% year-over-year.
- Revenue from core commerce increased 62% year-over-year to RMB51,287 million (US$8,176 million).
- Revenue from cloud computing increased 103% year-over-year to RMB4,385 million (US$699 million).
- Revenue from digital media and entertainment increased 34% year-over-year to RMB5,272 million (US$840 million).
- Revenue from innovation initiatives and others increased 8% year-over-year to RMB988 million (US$158 million).
- Annual active consumers on our China retail marketplaces reached 552 million, an increase of 37 million from the 12-month period ended December 31, 2017.
- Mobile MAUs on our China retail marketplaces reached 617 million in March 2018, an increase of 37 million over December 2017.
- Income from operations was RMB9,221 million (US$1,470 million) and adjusted EBITA increased 11% year-over-year to RMB16,805 million (US$2,679 million); adjusted EBITA for core commerce was RMB22,186 million (US$3,537 million), an increase of 19% year-over-year.
- Adjusted EBITA margin for core commerce was 43%. Excluding New Retail, revenue of which we primarily record on a gross basis, the consolidation of Cainiao Network and investments in Lazada, adjusted core commerce EBITA margin was similar to the prior year period. Our New Retail businesses primarily include Hema, Intime and Tmall Import.
- Net income attributable to ordinary shareholders was RMB7,561 million (US$1,206 million) and net income was RMB6,641 million (US$1,059 million). Non-GAAP net income was RMB14,099 million (US$2,248 million), an increase of 35% year-over-year.
- Diluted EPS was RMB2.88 (US$0.46) and non-GAAP diluted EPS was RMB5.73 (US$0.91), an increase of 32% year-over-year.
- Net cash provided by operating activities was RMB14,180 million (US$2,261 million) and non-GAAP free cash flow was RMB8,564 million (US$1,365 million).
In the fiscal year ended March 31, 2018:
- Revenue was RMB250,266 million (US$39,898 million), an increase of 58% year-over-year.
- Revenue from core commerce increased 60% year-over-year to RMB214,020 million (US$34,120 million).
- Revenue from cloud computing increased 101% year-over-year to RMB13,390 million (US$2,135 million).
- Revenue from digital media and entertainment increased 33% year-over-year to RMB19,564 million (US$3,119 million).
- Revenue from innovation initiatives and others increased 10% year-over-year to RMB3,292 million (US$524 million).
- Annual active consumers on our China retail marketplaces reached 552 million, an increase of 98 million from the 12-month period ended March 31, 2017.
- Mobile MAUs on our China retail marketplaces reached 617 million in March 2018, an increase of 110 million over March 2017.
- GMV transacted on our China retail marketplaces was RMB4,820 billion (US$768 billion), representing an accelerated year-over-year growth rate of 28% (compared to an annual growth rate of 22% in fiscal year 2017). Tmall physical goods GMVincreased 45% year-over-year.
- Income from operations was RMB69,314 million (US$11,050 million) and adjusted EBITA increased 40% year-over-year to RMB97,003 million (US$15,465 million); adjusted EBITA for core commerce was RMB114,100 million (US$18,190 million), an increase of 38% year-over-year.
- Adjusted EBITA margin for core commerce was 53%. Excluding New Retail, revenue of which we primarily record on a gross basis, the consolidation of Cainiao Network and investments in Lazada, adjusted core commerce EBITA margin would have been 63%. Our New Retail businesses primarily include Intime, Hema and Tmall Import.
- Net income attributable to ordinary shareholders was RMB63,985 million (US$10,201 million) and net income was RMB61,412 million (US$9,791 million). Non-GAAP net income was RMB83,214 million (US$13,266 million), an increase of 44% year-over-year.
- Diluted EPS was RMB24.51 (US$3.91) and non-GAAP diluted EPS was RMB32.86 (US$5.24), an increase of 40% year-over-year.
- Net cash provided by operating activities was RMB125,171 million (US$19,955 million) and non-GAAP free cash flowwas RMB99,362 million (US$15,841 million).
BUSINESS AND STRATEGIC UPDATES
Our Core Commerce segment delivered 60% in year-over-year revenue growth in fiscal year 2018, the highest revenue growth rate since our IPO. The robust performance in this segment benefited from significant contributions from several areas: personalization of our China retail marketplaces through investments in content and technology, expansion of our global and cross-border retail marketplaces through organic growth and acquisitions, and expansion of our total addressable market beyond e-commerce to capture consumer wallet share through online/offline integration (i.e., New Retail).
During fiscal year 2018, our China retail marketplaces recorded total GMV of RMB4,820 billion (US$768 billion), up 28% year-over-year. This robust growth was driven by Tmall physical goods GMV, which increased 45% year-over-year, demonstrating Tmall's ability to capture incremental B2C market share while operating at scale.
Taobao – redefining the shopping experience. Fiscal year 2018 witnessed the success of Taobao App's strategy to redefine the shopping experience through innovative content formats and intelligent personal recommendations. These initiatives drove strong growth in user engagement, purchase conversion and annual active consumers. A robust content ecosystem has developed around the Taobao App to propel it into one of the most popular mobile apps in China. As of March 31, 2018, approximately 1.5 million content creators were actively supporting the Taobao App and helping brands on our platform engage with consumers through curated posts, short-form videos and live-broadcast events.
We achieved strong results from investments in user acquisition, engagement and repeat visits and transactions. In March 2018, we achieved a net increase from the prior quarter of 37 million mobile MAUs on our China retail marketplaces to a total of 617 million mobile MAUs. The robust growth of mobile users and a successful Chinese New Year promotional campaign resulted in the increase of annual active consumers to 552 million for the 12 months ended March 31, 2018.
Tmall – reaccelerating growth and furthering market leadership. Tmall continued to gain wallet share and expand our B2C market leadership, with physical goods GMV up 45% year-over-year in fiscal year 2018. For fiscal year 2018, Tmall recorded 45% year-over-year growth for physical goods GMV, reflecting strength in apparels, FMCG, home appliances and consumer electronics categories. Tmall demonstrated its strong value proposition to brands and merchants not only as a distribution platform but also an enabler for brands and merchants to reach new customers and service repeat customers through our marketing tools and consumer data insights.
Tmall continues to be the platform of choice for the world's top brands. H&M, Marni and Yonex established flagship stores on Tmall this quarter. As of March 31, 2018, there were over 150,000 brands on Tmall. Our newly established Luxury Pavilion now counts close to 50 brands, including Burberry, Dom Perignon, Tod's, Zenith, La Mer, Maserati, and Guerlain.
New Retail – capturing consumption patterns of the future. Through incubation of new concepts and technologies and strategic alliances, our New Retail strategy is shaping consumer behavior of the future by offering a seamless integration of online/offline shopping experience. In the process, we are driving a massive transformation of the traditional retail industry by digitizing the entire retail operation, with a focus on in-store technology, digitized inventory and supply chain systems, consumer insights and mobile payments.
Hema, our unique proprietary grocery retail format, exemplifies the convergence of online and offline activities by using retail stores to warehouse and fulfill online orders in addition to offering a rich and fun experience for customers who shop in-store. Because of the proximity of store locations to consumer communities, Hema can deliver to customers who order online within 30 minutes. Recently, Hema started a 24-hour delivery service in Shanghai and Beijing with an expanding selection of products.
International – investments for long-term growth. Our cross-border and international retail businesses continue to show promising growth. Revenue from our international commerce retail business grew 94% year-over-year in fiscal year 2018.
Over the past year, we have integrated Lazada's operations into the Alibaba ecosystem by re-architecting its core technology infrastructure and strengthening its management team. Southeast Asia has developed into a very competitive market but is still in the early stages of online retail penetration. Our commitment to the region is reflected in our recent decision to invest US$2 billion, in addition to the approximately US$2 billion we have already invested, into Lazada to accelerate its growth and customer reach.
On the cross-border trade front, Tmall Global is the premier platform for overseas brands and retailers to reach Chinese consumers, build brand awareness and gain valuable Chinese consumer insights without the need for physical operations in China. As of March, 2018, there were 18,000 brands from 74 countries and regions selling into China through Tmall Global. According to Analysys, during the nine months ended in December 2017, Tmall Global was the number one cross-border e-commerce platform in China based on transaction value.
Cainiao Network – data enabled logistics. Cainiao Network continued to develop its data platform and technology as the infrastructure for our New Retail strategy and means to ensure faster and more accurate delivery to consumers. In March, we launched the first e-commerce dedicated intercontinental flight, significantly shortening the delivery time of packages shipped from China to Russia.
Cloud computing revenue grew 101% year-over-year to RMB13,390 million (US$2,135 million) in fiscal year 2018, driven by robust growth of paying customers and increasing revenue-per-customer, reflecting higher value-added products. According to IDC, Alibaba Cloud is the leader in China's market for infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) with a 47.6% market share as measured by revenue in the first half of 2017, an increase from 42.4% in the first half of 2016. We are seeing significant traction and diversification of customers and revenue, and will continue to invest to further expand the market by developing value-added products and features.
In the March 2018 quarter, Alibaba Cloud launched 316 new products and features, over 60 of which were focused on artificial intelligence, data management and security. Most recently, we launched Link Edge, a proprietary edge computing software to enable the development of IoT applications in industries such as manufacturing, real estate and public facilities such as airports and train stations.
Alibaba Cloud continues to expand its global footprint and customer base, most recently adding a new data center in Indonesia, increasing Alibaba Cloud's global footprint to 18 countries and regions worldwide. For the March 2018 quarter, selected large enterprise customers and major partnerships included:
- China National Petroleum Corporation, one of the largest petroleum companies in China, is building its procurement platform on Alibaba Cloud, leveraging our private cloud, big data, and security products and services.
- Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation: The Malaysian Government is adopting our City Brain platform for traffic management in Malaysia's capital city of Kuala Lumpur. This platform leverages advanced technologies, including AI, big data analytics and computer vision to manage and optimize city traffic.
- Cathay Pacific, a leading global airline headquartered in Hong Kong, adopted our security and data protection consultancy services to protect its operations in China.
Digital Media and Entertainment
We believe consumer spending on entertainment will continue to increase in China as the country's growing middle class increase their share of consumption of discretionary items beyond basic material needs. Through our investment in technology, content and talent during fiscal year 2018, we have built a solid foundation to expand into the digital consumption economy beyond our core commerce business. We are well-positioned to execute our strategy to grow the digital media and entertainment business as we leverage our customer base of 552 million annual active consumers and insights about their interests and preferences. The synergy between our commerce business and entertainment can deliver a superior user experience while increasing customer loyalty and subscription revenue, as well as return on investment for advertisers.
During the quarter, our online video unit Youku demonstrated the powerful effects of original content development, as our proprietary reality shows and exclusive drama series drove the growth of daily average subscribers by over 160% year-over-year.
Innovation Initiatives & Technology Development
During fiscal year 2018, several of our innovation initiatives resulted in products that have acquired significant user scale.
AutoNavi is the largest provider of mobile digital maps, navigation and real-time traffic information in China by daily active users as of March 2018, with the number of daily active users reaching approximately 60 million, according to QuestMobile. AutoNavi's open digital map platform also powers major mobile apps for food delivery, ride hailing service and social networking. During this quarter, AutoNavi's proprietary navigation system for vehicles (AMAP AUTO 3.0) was launched and implemented in select vehicles of major China automakers.
DingTalk, with messaging as its core product feature, has successfully penetrated the enterprise communication and collaboration market. DingTalk unifies the critical tasks of communication and collaboration in the work place, offering text, photo, voice and video communication, collaboration features and workflow management, such as convenient attendance recording and expense approval features.
Ele.me – strategic acquisition that will enlarge our addressable market and better service our consumers. On April 2, 2018, we announced our agreement to acquire the remaining outstanding equity interest in Ele.me, one of the two leading online food delivery platforms in China. According to Analysys, the size of the online food delivery industry in China was RMB208 billion (US$33 billion) in 2017. Through this acquisition, we will integrate Ele.me, which operates in over 600 cities serving millions of consumers, into our ecosystem and its local delivery network will become a core piece of our New Retail strategy. Ele.me's consumer reach and its relationship with restaurants will be complementary with Koubei, our joint venture with Ant Financial that provides listings of local service establishments including restaurants, bars and beauty salons. By combining Ele.me's online delivery service with Koubei's consumer engagement capability for a range of food and beverage-related and other service establishments, we will be able to offer an integrated local services experience to consumers.
During fiscal year 2018, we agreed to take a 33% equity stake in Ant Financial to strengthen our strategic relationship pursuant to a series of agreements reached with Ant Financial in 2014.
We believe deepening our relationship through an equity stake in Ant Financial would bring key strategic benefits to us, including advancing our New Retail strategy with mobile payments, increasing user acquisition and retention through collaboration with the Alipay digital wallet, and enhancing the execution of our international expansion. In addition, the equity stake in Ant Financial enables Alibaba and our shareholders to participate in the future growth of the financial technology sector.
Ant Financial has built a unique value proposition through its capability to offer integrated financial solutions, such as wealth management and consumer finance services, leading to a fast expanding user base and business scale.
During the March 2018 quarter, Ant Financial continued to aggressively invest in their business leading to robust user acquisition and engagement. These investments resulted in a net loss for Ant Financial in the quarter. During the fiscal year ended March 31, 2018, Alipay, together with its global JV partners, served around 870 million annual active users globally. Ant Financial also supports economic development in China by serving more than 15 million small businesses as of March 2018 through lending, cash management and insurance services.
Cash Flow from Operating Activities and Free Cash Flow
Net cash provided by operating activities in the quarter ended March 31, 2018 was RMB14,180 million (US$2,261 million), an increase of 32% compared to RMB10,746 million in the same quarter of 2017. Free cash flow, a non-GAAP measurement of liquidity, in the quarter ended March 31, 2018 was RMB8,564 million (US$1,365 million), an increase of 7% compared to RMB7,980 million in the same quarter of 2017. A reconciliation of net cash provided by operating activities to free cash flow is included at the end of this results announcement.