Alibaba announces a 45% rise in revenue

<p>The Chinese e-commerce giant’s quarterly profits exceeded expectations.</p>

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has announced a 45 per cent rise in revenue to 17.43 billion yuan (£1.8 billion – $2.8 billion) for the three months to March. The company, founded by entrepreneur Jack Ma, said user numbers had soared 37 per cent to 350 million.

The earnings bet expectations, with Wall Street analysts forecasting $2.77 billion in revenue, according to Thomson Reuters. Alibaba's gross merchandise volume (GMV) on China retail marketplaces jumped 40 per cent to $97 billion.

"We assume that stepped up efforts to remove counterfeit goods has a measurable impact on GMV this quarter," MKM Partners analyst Rob Sanderson wrote in a note seen by the Wall Street Journal.

The group unveils a new chief executive

About two-thirds of its sales come from advertising and marketing services on the group's consumer-to-consumer marketplace Taobao.

While announcing the results, the firm revealed that it has replaced its chief executive. Alibaba's current chief operating officer Daniel Zhang will take over from Jonathan Lu, who will remain on the board of directors of Alibaba Group as vice chairman.

The results come just month after Alibaba's record-breaking $25 billion flotation in New York in September.

Founder Jack Ma has said that the company would spread its business aggressively into the US and Europe following the listing. The e-commerce giant currently accounts for 80 per cent of all online retail sales in China.

In an earnings report released at the end of 2014, the company said sales rose 46 per cent to $2.54 billion, and net income nearly tripled to $1.99 billion from the year prior. After it posted Q1 earnings today (May 7th), the group's shares rose 7.5 per cent in pre-US market trading.

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