Alibaba Group Announces March Quarter and Full Fiscal Year 2020 Results

HANGZHOU, China–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Alibaba Group Holding Limited (NYSE: BABA and HKEX: 9988, “Alibaba” or “Alibaba Group”) today announced its financial results for the quarter and fiscal year ended March 31, 2020.

Alibaba achieved the historic milestone of US$1 trillion in GMV across our digital economy this fiscal year,” said Daniel Zhang, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Alibaba Group. “Our overall business continued to experience strong growth, with a total annual active consumer base of 960 million globally, despite concluding the fiscal year with a quarter impacted by the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has fundamentally altered consumer behavior and enterprise operations, making digital adoption and transformation a necessity. We are well positioned and prepared to help large and small businesses across a wide spectrum of industries achieve the digital transformation they need to survive this difficult period and eventually prevail in the new normal. By focusing on the long term and investing in value creation for our consumers and business customers, we believe we will emerge from this crisis stronger and be ready to capture more growth in the future.”

Despite a challenging quarter due to reduced economic activities in light of the COVID-19 pandemic in China, we achieved our annual revenue guidance of over RMB500 billion. Revenue growth of 35% year-over-year was driven by solid performance of our domestic retail businesses as well as robust cloud computing revenue growth,” said Maggie Wu, Chief Financial Officer of Alibaba Group. “Our adjusted EBITDA grew 29% year-over-year, reflecting our discipline in allocating resources to key strategic growth areas while optimizing costs and improving efficiency. Although the pandemic negatively impacted most of our domestic core commerce businesses starting in late January, we have seen a steady recovery since March. Based on our current view of Chinese domestic consumption and enterprise digitization, we expect to generate over RMB650 billion in revenue in fiscal year 2021.”


In the quarter ended March 31, 2020:

  • Revenue was RMB114,314 million (US$16,144 million), an increase of 22% year-over-year.
  • Annual active consumers on our China retail marketplaces reached 726 million, an increase of 15 million from the 12-month period ended December 31, 2019.
  • Mobile MAUs on our China retail marketplaces reached 846 million in March 2020, an increase of 22 million over December 2019.
  • Income from operations was RMB7,131 million (US$1,007 million), a decrease of 19% year-over-year, primarily due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Adjusted EBITDA, a non-GAAP measurement, increased 1% year-over-year to RMB25,440 million (US$3,593 million).
  • Net income attributable to ordinary shareholders was RMB3,162 million (US$447 million), a decrease of 88% year-over-year, and net income was RMB348 million (US$49 million), a decrease of 99% year-over year. The year-over-year decrease was primarily due to a net loss in investment income, mainly reflecting decreases in the market prices of our equity investments in publicly-traded companies, compared to a net gain recorded in the same quarter of 2019. Non-GAAP net income, which excludes the above-mentioned loss and gain, was RMB22,287 million (US$3,148 million), an increase of 11% year-over-year.
  • Diluted earnings per ADS was RMB1.16 (US$0.16) and non-GAAP diluted earnings per ADS was RMB9.20 (US$1.30), an increase of 7% year-over-year. Diluted earnings per share was RMB0.14 (US$0.02 or HK$0.15) and non-GAAP diluted earnings per share was RMB1.15 (US$0.16 or HK$1.26), an increase of 7% year-over-year.
  • Net cash provided by operating activities was RMB2,164 million (US$306 million), compared to RMB18,553 million in the same quarter of 2019, and non-GAAP free cash flow was an outflow of RMB4,214 million (US$595 million), compared to an inflow of RMB10,714 million in the same quarter of 2019. The year-over-year decreases were mainly due to the effect of the one-off AliExpress Payment Services Restructuring, as discussed in further detail in the section entitled “Cash Flow from Operating Activities and Free Cash Flow” below. Excluding the effect of the AliExpress Payment Services Restructuring, non-GAAP free cash flow for the quarter would have been an inflow of RMB1,977 million (US$279 million).

In the fiscal year ended March 31, 2020:

  • Revenue was RMB509,711 million (US$71,985 million), an increase of 35% year-over-year.
  • Annual active consumers for the Alibaba Digital Economy reached 960 million globally, including 780 million consumers in China and 180 million consumers outside China. Annual active consumers on our China retail marketplaces reached 726 million, an increase of 72 million from the 12-month period ended March 31, 2019.
  • Mobile MAUs on our China retail marketplaces reached 846 million in March 2020, an increase of 125 million over March 2019.
  • GMV transacted in the Alibaba Digital Economy was RMB7,053 billion (US$1 trillion) for fiscal year 2020, which mainly included China retail marketplaces GMV of RMB6,589 billion (US$945 billion), as well as international retail marketplaces and local consumer services GMV.
  • Income from operations was RMB91,430 million (US$12,912 million), an increase of 60% year-over-year. Adjusted EBITDA, a non-GAAP measurement, increased 29% year-over-year to RMB157,659 million (US$22,266 million). Adjusted EBITA, a non-GAAP measurement, increased 28% year-over-year to RMB137,136 million (US$19,367 million).
  • Adjusted EBITA for core commerce was RMB165,800 million (US$23,415 million), an increase of 22% year-over-year. Our marketplace-based core commerce adjusted EBITA, a non-GAAP measurement, increased 19% year-over-year to RMB192,771 million (US$27,224 million).
  • Net income attributable to ordinary shareholders was RMB149,263 million (US$21,080 million), and net income was RMB140,350 million (US$19,821 million). Non-GAAP net income was RMB132,479 million (US$18,710 million), an increase of 42% year-over-year.
  • Diluted earnings per ADS was RMB55.93 (US$7.90) and non-GAAP diluted earnings per ADS was RMB52.98 (US$7.48), an increase of 38% year-over-year. Diluted earnings per share was RMB6.99 (US$0.99 or HK$7.65) and non-GAAP diluted earnings per share was RMB6.62 (US$0.93 or HK$7.25), an increase of 38% year-over-year.
  • Net cash provided by operating activities was RMB180,607 million (US$25,507 million) and non-GAAP free cash flow was RMB130,914 million (US$18,489 million).

Reconciliations of GAAP measures to non-GAAP measures presented above are included at the end of this results announcement.


Alibaba Digital Economy

The consumer commerce businesses of the Alibaba Digital Economy, mainly comprised of our China retail marketplaces, international retail marketplaces and local consumer services, reached RMB7,053 billion (US$1 trillion) of GMV in the twelve months ended March 31, 2020. In September 2019, on the occasion of Alibaba’s 20th anniversary, we set our strategic goals for the next five years, consistent with our mission “to make it easy to do business anywhere,” to:

  • Continue to expand our globalization efforts;
  • Serve more than 1 billion Chinese consumers; and
  • Facilitate more than RMB10 trillion of consumption on our platforms.

These five-year goals are guide posts that will help us achieve our vision for 2036 to:

  • Serve 2 billion global consumers;
  • Enable 10 million businesses to be profitable; and
  • Create 100 million jobs.

We manage our consumer-facing businesses as one integrated platform serving one user base with access to our various offerings. For the twelve months ended March 31, 2020, 780 million consumers in China purchased goods or services on our China retail, local consumer services and digital media and entertainment platforms. These consumers account for around 85% and 40% of the Chinese population in developed and less developed areas, respectively. We have also expanded into international markets, with over 180 million annual active consumers on our international retail marketplaces. Our digital infrastructure, such as smart logistics and cloud computing, which cuts across platforms to serve our major commerce, local services and entertainment businesses, gives us unparalleled and unique insights to meet changing consumer demands. Through the Alibaba Business Operating System (ABOS), we offer our data technologies and analytics to help our enterprise customers and partners achieve digital transformation.

COVID-19 Pandemic

Business Customer Support Programs

Starting in late January 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic triggered a series of lockdowns, social distancing requirements and travel restrictions that drastically reduced economic activities in China. In the initial phase of the crisis in China, the most pressing concern of all enterprises was business continuity – solving for issues like minimizing supply chain disruptions, cutting costs, identifying new revenue opportunities, improving cash flow and managing a remote workforce. We helped our merchant customers to overcome these challenges and took proactive measures to fulfill our mission.

Starting in February, together with Ant Financial, we implemented a comprehensive set of financial and business support measures to help alleviate the near-term challenges faced by our business customers and partners.

  • Financial support – We worked with Ant Financial and other partners to advance RMB128 billion to provide liquidity to our merchants and to facilitate over RMB12 billion in 12-month loans with preferential interest rates (each as of April 30, 2020) to merchants who sell through our China retail marketplaces.
  • Business support – Alibaba’s domestic and international businesses provided billions of Renminbi in value in the form of subsidies and technical support to our merchants and users, including waivers of platform technology fees, annual service fees and warehousing fees, reduction of commissions and logistics costs, as well as free support for remote work and education programs through DingTalk, our digital collaboration platform for enterprises and schools all over the world.
  • New initiatives – In April 2020, we launched our “2020 Spring Thunder” initiative, which aims to:

    • help export-oriented SMEs to explore opportunities in the China domestic market through our China retail marketplaces, as well as expand into new markets through our international wholesale and retail marketplaces, such as and AliExpress;
    • develop digitalized manufacturing clusters;
    • accelerate the digital transformation of China’s agriculture sector; and
    • alleviate financing challenges faced by SMEs by working with Ant Financial and its partners.

Social Responsibility

We leveraged our platform technology and other resources across our ecosystem to support those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic within China and around the world.

  • Donations of PPE and equipment – Through their combined efforts, the Alibaba Foundation, the Jack Ma Foundation and the Joe and Clara Tsai Foundation donated over 200 million units of personal protective equipment, testing kits and ventilators to over 150 countries and regions. Tmall Global, Tmall Supermarket, and Lazada sourced, verified and procured many of these scarce supplies.
  • Delivery of medical supplies – Our logistics subsidiary Cainiao delivered medical supplies to destinations around the world through its extensive global logistics network of airport hubs, customs clearance operations, trucking companies and local delivery personnel.
  • Knowledge sharing – The Alibaba Foundation and Jack Ma Foundation jointly established an online exchange called the Global MediXchange for Combating COVID-19 (GMCC) to facilitate sharing of best practices and knowledge for fighting the pandemic among medical professionals around the world in real-time in 11 languages. Close to 10,000 healthcare workers from 120 countries and regions have joined the GMCC.
  • Fund for medical and related supplies – Within China, we established a new RMB1 billion special fund to procure medical and related supplies for parts of the country affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • AI technology – We made available AI technology to over 550 hospitals in China to help improve the speed and efficiency of their COVID-19 diagnosis using CT scans.
  • Jobs – Freshippo, and Koubei launched employee-sharing initiatives to temporarily hire furloughed employees of businesses in negatively impacted service sectors, including restaurants, hotels, movie theaters and department stores.

Financial and Operational Impact on our Businesses

During the quarter, businesses in China and around the world, including merchants on our platforms and logistics companies, have been unable to conduct normal activities due to disruptions in supply chain and workforce availability. The substantial decline in business activities starting in late January in China negatively affected most of our domestic core commerce businesses, such as our China retail marketplaces and local consumer services businesses, while our key international commerce businesses began to experience a negative impact in February.

During the March quarter, some of our businesses experienced slowing or negative year-over-year growth due to the pandemic.

  • China retail marketplaces – Tmall online physical goods GMV, excluding unpaid orders, grew 10% year-over-year, driven by growth of fast-moving consumer goods (“FMCG”), including daily necessities and household goods, and resilient demand for consumer electronics, which together grew approximately 25% year-over-year, offset by negative growth in other major categories such as apparel and accessories, home furnishing and auto parts. Combined customer management and commission revenues grew 1% year-over-year, reflecting an increase of 3% in customer management revenue and a decrease of 2% in commission revenue.
  • Local consumer services – Our local consumer services business recorded an 8% year-over-year revenue decline during the quarter ended March 31, 2020, reflecting mass closure of restaurants and local merchants.
  • International retail marketplaces – AliExpress revenue growth was significantly slower year-over-year, primarily due to supply chain and logistics disruptions that negatively impacted GMV growth from sales to North and South America and Europe. Lazada experienced some negative impact in certain countries beginning in March, but order growth remained strong.
  • Other businesses – Our businesses that involve travel, transportation and offline entertainment, including Fliggy, Alibaba Pictures, Damai and Amap, have all been negatively impacted by the pandemic.

While the magnitude of near-term financial impact differs by business, the growth of our domestic businesses started to recover in March. Tmall online physical goods GMV, excluding unpaid orders, saw a strong recovery in April and continue to further improve in May. Similarly, food delivery GMV growth turned positive in April as lockdown measures eased, restaurants began reopening and people began returning to work in China. For our international commerce businesses, which represented 7% of total revenue in fiscal year 2020, the timing and pace of recovery is still uncertain as demand in countries outside China remains soft. It is not possible to determine the ultimate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our business operations and financial results, which is highly dependent on numerous factors, many of which we are not able to predict or control. See the section entitled “Guidance” below for further details.

Business Opportunities

The COVID-19 pandemic created opportunities for consumer adoption of a broader digital lifestyle and the shift to online purchase of daily necessities. More businesses are adopting new digital tools and solutions to grow and manage their operations. Over the years, Alibaba has pioneered and developed businesses that allow us to capture the long-term benefits of these trends, including:

  • Accelerated merchant on-boarding – We have seen a growing range of offline merchants going online, as well as increased adoption by existing merchants of new ways to engage with and sell to consumers. For example, daily active merchants using livestreaming on Taobao Live grew 88% year-over-year for the three months ended March 31, 2020.
  • New Retail (grocery category) – Freshippo’s revenue showed strong growth in February and March driven by an increased number of online customers, higher purchase frequency and larger order size. For the quarter ended March 31, 2020, online purchases represented approximately 60% of Freshippo’s GMV, up by 10 percentage points year-over-year. Our Taoxianda (淘鲜达) business, which enables on-demand delivery for our partner grocery retailers with physical stores, also generated increased online revenue for these stores.
  • DingTalk – DingTalk is a platform that offers new ways of working, sharing and collaborating for modern enterprises and organizations. Millions more enterprises and users in China are now using DingTalk to stay connected and work remotely. In the month of March, DingTalk’s average daily active users on workdays reached 155 million. DingTalk also made significant penetration in the education sector as schools adopted the platform for their teachers and students. In March, DingTalk conducted on average over one million active classroom sessions each workday.
  • Cainiao Post – Cainiao Post, which operates a network of neighborhood stations, campus stations and smart pick-up lockers, helped consumers and delivery personnel during this period of logistics disruptions. In March, as social distancing measures remained in place, we saw robust adoption of Cainiao Post by consumers who needed convenient and contactless pick-up and delivery options in their neighborhoods. In March 2020, daily packages handled by Cainiao Post’s neighborhood stations grew over 100% year-over-year.

Core Commerce

China retail marketplaces – broad product selections and enhanced user experience result in higher purchase frequency from a large-scale consumer base.

Consumers – the largest consumer platform in China with improving purchase frequency

In fiscal year 2020, our China retail marketplaces achieved strong results reflecting our strategic focus on user acquisition and engagement as well as on increasing our offerings of value-for-money products. In March 2020, our China retail marketplaces had 846 million mobile MAUs, representing an annual and quarterly net increase of 125 and 22 million, respectively. Annual active consumers on our China retail marketplaces was 726 million for the 12 months ended March 31, 2020, representing an annual and quarterly net increase of 72 million and 15 million, respectively. In fiscal year 2020, over 70% of new annual active consumers were from less developed areas.

The longer consumers have been with us, the more orders they place, across a more diverse range of product categories, and as a result we experience increasing average spend per user on our China retail marketplaces. In fiscal year 2020, GMV growth of our China retail marketplaces was driven by robust increase in annual active consumers and greater purchase frequency per consumer.

Product Supply – largest online physical goods platform in the world with the most comprehensive product offering that caters to the needs of different consumer segments

The Alibaba Digital Economy has a comprehensive range of products and services made available by tens of millions of merchants and ecosystem partners to meet the diverse demands of our large-scale consumer base. We continually work to secure relevant and new products, such as increasing our range of branded and imported products, going upstream to directly source fresh agricultural products, and expanding the breadth of selection of value-for-money and long-tail products. Having a broad product range is the key to our consumer segmentation and category expansion strategy.

Tmall online physical goods GMV, excluding unpaid orders, grew 23% year-over-year in fiscal year 2020. In addition to Tmall, we have multiple fast growing platforms, including Juhuasuan (聚划算) and Taobao Deals (特价版), that offer attractively priced products from brands, retailers and factories. Idle Fish is the largest C2C community and marketplace in China for long-tail products, including second-hand, recycled, refurbished and for-rent products, with approximately RMB200 billion GMV in fiscal year 2020.

Engagement – the largest digital commerce platform in China enabled by unrivalled consumer insights and proprietary data technology

In March 2020, over 300 million daily active users came to our China retail marketplaces to browse and purchase from billions of listings. The massive amount of user and merchant activities taking place every day on our China retail marketplaces generate significant consumer insights. By leveraging proprietary AI and data technology, we are able to build on these deep consumer insights to provide more accurate search results and relevant recommendation feeds that enhance the shopping experience for our consumers.

The Taobao app is the largest social commerce platform in China, offering rich, highly relevant and curated content and features that enable merchants to engage with consumers through live-streaming, short-form videos, interactive games and microblogs. For example, Taobao Live, where merchants and key opinion leaders (“KOLs”) use live-streaming to market to their fans and customers, has become one of the fastest growing sales formats on our China retail marketplaces. In the fiscal year ended March 2020, GMV generated from live-streaming grew over 100% year-over-year.

New Retail – developing new business models to enable digital transformation of brick-and-mortar retailing.

Creating the new – Our self-operated grocery retail chain Freshippo (known as “Hema” in Chinese) continues to achieve robust same-store sales growth, expand its footprint, optimize its stores and introduce new initiatives to improve customer experience. In fiscal year 2020, Freshippo strengthened its direct procurement of agricultural products and built a nationwide cold chain logistics network in order to support its rapid growth. As of March 31, 2020, we had 207 self-operated Freshippo stores in China, primarily located in tier one and tier two cities.

Transforming the old – Taoxianda, our online-offline retail integration service provider for grocery retailer partners with physical stores, puts us at the forefront of transforming the retail industry by digitalizing all aspects of store-based operations. By digitalizing SunArt’s hypermarket stores, Taoxianda has contributed to an increase in SunArt’s online revenue. In the twelve months ended March 31, 2020, Alibaba commerce platforms – primarily Taoxianda – generated and enabled around 10% of SunArt’s total revenue.

Local consumer services – ecosystem synergy and focus on market share gains in lower tier cities.

Our local consumer service business continues to expand our China retail offerings from shopping to services, further tapping into new addressable markets for consumption in China. We are leveraging resources and technology in the Alibaba Digital Economy to benefit our local consumer services business.


Investor Relations Contact

Rob Lin

Media Contacts

Brion Tingler

Adam Najberg

Read full story here