JD.com (JD - Get Report) posted a fourth-quarter loss Thursday but topped sales forecasts as customer accounts on the China-focused online retailer backed by Walmart (WMT - Get Report) and Alphabet (GOOGL - Get Report) rose past 300 million, sending shares higher.
JD.com said its loss for the three months ending in December was pegged at 48 cents per U.S.-listed share, while diluted net income hit 7 cents per share. Group revenues, JD.com said, came in at 134.8 billion yuan $20.17 billion), a 22.4% increase from last year that topped the consensus estimate of 118 billion yuan.
JD.com said it sees first quarter revenues in the region of 118 billion yuan to 122 billion yuan, thanks in part to a 4.4% increase in overall customer accounts that lifted the 2018 total to 305.3 million.
"In the fourth quarter of 2018, JD.com continued to outperform the industry across our key product categories," said CEO Richard Liu. "Our investments in technology enhanced the customer experience and enabled greater operating efficiency. As JD.com pushes the boundaries of retail, we are committed to optimizing our resources across our business in order to deliver long term value to our shareholders."
JD.com shares rose 3.8% to $26.96 on Thursday.
JD.com's fourth quarter earnings echo the stronger-than-expected earnings posted by China-based rival Alibaba Group Holding Co. (BABA - Get Report) late last month, which used a record Singles Day shopping event helped boost profits for Asia's biggest tech company.
Alibaba said diluted non-GAAP earnings for the three months ending in December, the company's fiscal third quarter, came in at $1.77 per share, up 8.6% from the same period last year and topping the consensus forecast of $1.64 per share. Group sales, Alibaba said, rose 41% to $17.057 billion but just missed analysts estimates of $17.47 billion.
Alibaba's Singles Day shopping extravaganza, which takes place yearly on Nov. 11 as an ode to "number one," netted more than $30 billion in sales within 24 hours, a 27% increase from 2017 but teh slowest pace of growth in a decade.
Alibaba's Singles Day has surpassed both Black Friday and Cyber Monday as the biggest single-day shopping event globally, anchored by the massive Chinese consumer market of about 1.4 billion people, and evolving in recent years to an international event.