Alibaba Group (BABA) shares opened at a record high Thursday after China's biggest e-commerce company forecast another massive surge in full year revenues.
Alibaba CFO Maggie Wu said annual sales growth will rise between 45% and 49% in the 2018 fiscal year, a figure that topped analysts' forecast and implies revenues of up to $34.3 billion, well ahead of the $31.42 billion expected, according to a Bloomberg survey.
Alibaba shares leaped 12% at the start of trading to change hands at an all-time high of $140.84 in New York, extending its year-to-date gain past 62%.
Like its American competitor Amazon Inc. (AMZN) , Alibaba has diversified its offering beyond online retailing to cloud-computing and streaming media as China's economy slows. That said, it will still trail Amazon's $136 billion in annual sales, but is nonetheless growing its top line at twice the pace of its American rival.
Wu also told the company's investor day in Hangzhou that Alibaba will begin reporting active consumers as opposed to just buyers to represent the changing business. It will also begin to disclose "customer management revenue" instead of just online marketing to reflect sales from a broader base of customers.
Wu said Alibaba would continue to make investments, with an emphasis on cloud computing, sacrificing a small slice of profitability to pay for them.
"Profitability is still not the priority for our cloud business," Wu told investors.
Last year revenues increased by 56%, but that included Lazada, the South East Asian ecommerce group which was consolidated into Alibaba's numbers from April. Stripping that out, said Wu, would have whittled last year's growth to 44% to 45%.
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