Alibaba's profit in Q4 tumbles due to equity investments, New York-listed stock plunges

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HONG KONG — Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba Group Holding on Tuesday posted a greater-than-expected decline in profit for the fourth quarter due to its equity investments, sending its stock price plunging in New York.

Its net income for the quarter ended March was 3.3 billion yuan ($453 million), down 86% compared to the same time last year and missing analyst estimates. Alibaba said this was primarily due to a lower market value of its equity investments.

Revenue however beat estimates and was up 7% to 221.8 billion yuan ($30.73 billion), as the company in recent months refocused its efforts to grow its e-commerce business amid growing competition from rivals such as Pinduoduo and Douyin as well as a slowing Chinese economy.

“This quarter’s results demonstrate that our strategies are working and we are returning to growth,” said Eddie Wu, Alibaba CEO, in an earnings call.

Quarterly revenue for its e-commerce platforms Taobao and Tmall grew 4% compared to the same time last year.

Revenue for its cloud unit rose by double-digits year over year, with artificial intelligence-related revenue from external customers growing at triple digits, the company said. It did not provide detailed figures for its cloud business.

Alibaba also said Tuesday that it aimed to convert its secondary listing in Hong Kong to a primary listing by the end of August this year.

The company’s shares declined over 7% in New York Tuesday following the results.

Alibaba’s stock price has fallen over 70% from its peak in October 2020. The Hangzhou-based e-commerce firm has grappled with investor confidence in recent years, following a regulatory crackdown in the technology industry and rising competition in the e-commerce industry.

The company last year underwent a major restructuring and split its businesses into six units, with the aim of maximizing shareholder value. The units would be able to raise their own capital and eventually go public.

However, plans to take Alibaba’s logistics arm and cloud business were eventually scrapped amid what Alibaba said were “challenging IPO market conditions.”