(Reuters) – China’s Alibaba Group Holding Ltd on Friday reported fourth-quarter revenue and profit that topped market expectations, as the COVID-19 lockdowns drove more people to shop online for essentials.
As people stayed indoors and brick-and-mortar stores remained shut during the health crisis, online orders surged, with the company’s core commerce business rising nearly 19% to 93.87 billion yuan ($13.16 billion) in the quarter.
Revenue at its cloud computing business surged about 58%.
With China’s economy starting up again much ahead of major economies in Europe and the United States, the e-commerce giant said it expects to generate over 650 billion yuan in revenue in fiscal 2021.
The company has been pushing into new businesses and technologies as online shopping space heats up with competition from smaller rival JD.com Inc and Pinduoduo Inc, which is popular with residents in China’s lower-tier cities.
Last week, JD.com forecast second-quarter revenue above analysts’ estimates after an upbeat quarter, riding on a surge in online orders for groceries and daily goods.
Alibaba’s overall revenue rose to 114.31 billion yuan ($16.02 billion) in the quarter ended March 31 from about 93.50 billion yuan a year earlier.
Analysts had expected revenue of 107.04 billion yuan, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.
Excluding items, the company earned 9.20 yuan per American Depository Share (ADS). Analysts were expecting 6.10 yuan per ADS, according to Refinitiv data.
U.S.-listed shares of the company were marginally up in trading before the bell.
($1 = 7.1343 Chinese yuan renminbi)
(Reporting by Akanksha Rana in Bengaluru and Josh Horwitz in Shanghai; Editing by Arun Koyyur)