Alibaba has reported a 58% increase in annual revenue (US$39,898m) for the fiscal year ending 31 March 2018.
Revenue from core online commerce (marketplace) activities rose 60% to US$34,120m and from cloud computing by 101% to US$2,135m. Digital media and entertainment sales rose 33% to US$3,119m.
The number of annual active consumers on Alibaba Group’s China retail marketplaces reached 552m, an increase of 98m from the 12-month period ended 31 March.
New Retail central to growth
Alibaba's Hema stores blend online and offline retail to provide a seamless experience for consumers. The retailer has been expanding quickly, having recently entered four new cities (Xi'an, Nanjing, Wuhan, Guangzhou) and extending its network to 46 stores in 13 across the country.
In FY2018, Alibaba added 17 new stores, and another 23 have opened in the first four months of 2018. Only in January, Alibaba announced that it would launch 30 new stores in Beijing before the end of the year. Hema recently unveiled 24-hour delivery service. Furthermore, Hema Cloud provides shoppers access to products that may not be present in a physical store.
See our Hema store visit report here.
Hangzhou hosts brick-and-mortar mall
Last September, Alibaba announced plans to open its first offline mall in China. The retailer opened its next-generation mall on 28 April in Hangzhou, next to company headquarters. It carries Hema Fresh, Taobao Select, Tmall International, Tmall Genie Future Store and Brookstone. The mall also features unstaffed checkouts, Alipay payment services and other technologies.
Tmall and Taobao
Tmall recorded 45% year-on-year growth in physical goods sales, reflecting robust growth across all major categories including apparel and accessories, consumer electronics and FMCG. Artificial Intelligence (AI) drove user engagement on Taobao's app. Smart personal recommendations to engage users is redefining shopping experience. It has around 1.5m content creators who actively support the Taobao App through posts, videos and live-broadcast events.
Alibaba's cross-border platform, Tmall Global, trades with 18,000 brands from 74 countries and regions selling into China. Revenue from its international retail business grew 94% in fiscal year 2018. It has further integrated Lazada’s operations into the Alibaba ecosystem and has committed to invest a further US$2bn in (Lazada) Southeast Asia to drive growth.