A huge rise in sales at its annual Singles Day shopping event drove revenue higher at the Chinese e-commerce giant. Fred Katayama reports.
A whopper of a quarter for Alibaba. A surge in sales at its annual Single's Day shopping event drove quarterly revenue up 54 percent, and profit also rose. That one-day shopping festival chalked up nearly $18 billion in sales, almost a third more than the year before. E-commerce continued to provide the vast bulk of its overall revenue, but its share fell as the company seeks to expand its fast-growing data, cloud, and artificial intelligence businesses. Toward that end, Alibaba put in a bid this month to privatize a Chinese department store so it can use data to digitize offline shopping. The company has also been opening data centers outside China in a bid to grab share from Amazon and Microsoft. Raymond James internet analyst Aaron Kessler called the results "solid" and said Alibaba's move to raise its revenue forecast for the full year reflects "the strength in the quarter." Alibaba shares, already up 12 percent this year, added on those gains in early trading.