How Alibaba Makes Money: core e-commerce, cloud computing, digital media and entertainment

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Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. (BABA) is simply a holding institution legally domiciled successful the Cayman Islands but which conducts its e-commerce businesses done its Chinese subsidiaries and adaptable involvement entities (VIEs). Its superior concern is to connection a integer marketplace wherever consumers and merchants tin link and bargain and merchantability from each other. Alibaba operates its concern done 4 superior segments, led by its elephantine e-commerce operations.

Chief among its competitors are different established Chinese e-commerce and Internet companies, specified arsenic Tencent Holdings Ltd., arsenic good arsenic planetary and determination e-commerce companies, specified arsenic Inc. (AMZN). Since Alibaba besides operates successful the cloud-computing concern and digital-media and digital-entertainment businesses, it competes with companies specializing successful those markets arsenic well.

Key Takeaways

  • Alibaba provides integer marketplaces for merchants and consumers.
  • Alibaba's largest concern is its halfway e-commerce operations.
  • Alibaba aims to beryllium a person successful the improvement of the infrastructure of commerce.
  • Alibaba and different elephantine tech companies successful China person been ordered by Chinese authorities to halt blocking users of their apps from accessing rivals' services from wrong those apps.

Alibaba's Financials

Alibaba files fiscal statements with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and does truthful successful accordance with mostly accepted accounting principles (GAAP). The institution follows a reporting docket wherever the extremity of its fiscal twelvemonth (FY) occurs astatine the extremity of March.

The institution besides reports definite non-GAAP fiscal measures, specified arsenic adjusted net earlier interest, taxes, amortization, and depreciation (EBITDA), and adjusted EBITA, which refers to net earlier interest, taxes, and amortization. Although Alibaba's reporting currency is the Renminbi, the institution provides conversions into U.S. dollars, which are utilized successful this story.

Alibaba reported fiscal results successful aboriginal August for Q1 of its 2022 fiscal twelvemonth (FY), the three-month play ended June 30, 2021. Net income fell 7.8% twelvemonth implicit twelvemonth (YOY) to $6.6 billion. Revenue, however, roseate 33.8% YOY to $31.9 billion. Adjusted EBITA, the nett metric Alibaba uses for its idiosyncratic concern segments, was down 8.0% to $6.5 billion.

In its quarterly net study the institution highlighted the maturation successful its yearly progressive consumers, which accrued to astir 1.2 billion. Alibaba besides noted that it was investing its excess profits and further superior to enactment its merchants and for continued maturation into caller markets. The institution said it was expanding its share repurchase programme from $10 cardinal to $15 billion, which is the largest stock buyback programme successful its history.

Alibaba’s Business Segments

Alibaba monetizes its services done 4 main concern segments that it formally names arsenic follows:

  • Commerce (formerly Core Commerce)
  • Cloud Computing
  • Digital Media and Entertainment
  • Innovation Initiatives and Others

The institution provides conception breakdowns of gross and adjusted EBITA. The institution besides reports definite unallocated items, which chiefly subordinate to firm administrative costs and different miscellaneous items not allocated to its idiosyncratic segments. These unallocated items were excluded from the percentages successful the pastry charts beneath and successful the idiosyncratic concern conception sections below.


Alibaba's commerce conception is comprised of its assorted integer retail and wholesale marketplaces, arsenic good arsenic logistics and section user services. The institution generates gross from merchants done the merchantability of a assortment of selling services, rank fees, lawsuit absorption services, merchandise sales, commissions connected transactions, and bundle work fees. The institution generates gross from section consumers done level commissions and on-demand transportation work fees.

The commerce conception is Alibaba's largest root of gross astatine $27.9 billion, oregon astir 88% of the company's full revenue, arsenic of Q1 FY 2022. Revenue for the conception grew 35.2% compared to the aforesaid three-month play a twelvemonth ago.

In presumption of income measures, the commerce conception represents astir 99% of the company's adjusted EBITA, which fell 11.0% to $7.1 cardinal successful Q1 FY 2022. Losses successful 2 of Alibaba's different concern segments partially relationship for the higher-reported fig successful the commerce conception than successful adjusted EBITA for the institution arsenic a whole.

Cloud Computing

Alibaba Cloud provides endeavor customers with a implicit suite of unreality services, including database, storage, absorption and exertion services, large information analytics, a machine-learning platform, and different services. The company's unreality computing conception generates gross from endeavor customers based connected the duration and circumstantial usage of the services.

Cloud computing is Alibaba's second-largest root of gross astatine $2.5 billion, oregon astir 8% of full revenue, arsenic of Q1 FY 2022. Revenue for the conception grew 29.1% compared to the year-ago quarter.

Alibaba reported adjusted EBITA of $53 cardinal for its unreality computing conception successful Q1 FY 2022, compared to a nonaccomplishment successful adjusted EBITA successful the year-ago quarter. The unreality computing conception makes up little than 1% of wide adjusted EBITA.

Digital Media and Entertainment

Alibaba's integer media and amusement conception exists arsenic portion of the company's strategy to seizure gross from depletion beyond its halfway commerce businesses. The conception generates gross chiefly from lawsuit absorption services, self-developed online games, and rank subscription fees.

Digital media and amusement is Alibaba's third-largest root of gross astatine $1.3 billion, oregon astir 4% of full revenue, arsenic of Q1 FY 2022. Revenue for the conception grew 15.4% compared to the aforesaid 4th a twelvemonth ago. Alibaba reported a $65 cardinal nonaccomplishment successful adjusted EBITA for the conception successful Q1 FY 2022.

Innovation Initiatives and Others

Alibaba's innovation initiatives and others conception aims to innovate and make caller services and products that tin conscionable the needs of its customers. Past innovations see digital-navigation app Amap and network-communication app DingTalk. The conception generates gross chiefly done services fees and merchandise income to consumers and endeavor customers.

Innovation initiatives and others comprise the smallest stock of Alibaba's gross astatine $213 million, oregon little than 1% of full revenue, arsenic of Q1 FY 2022. Revenue for the conception roseate 37.2% compared to the aforesaid three-month play a twelvemonth ago. Alibaba posted a $333 cardinal nonaccomplishment successful adjusted EBITA successful Q1 FY 2022.

Alibaba's Recent Developments

On Sept. 13, 2021, The Wall Street Journal reported that China ordered the country's large tech giants, including Alibaba, to halt blocking users of their apps from accessing competitors' services from wrong those apps. The determination by the Chinese authorities is portion of a wider-ranging crackdown connected the country's exertion sector. Alibaba is among different large tech companies successful China that person been deed with caller fines for anticompetitive practices.

How Alibaba Reports Diversity and Inclusiveness

As portion of our effort to improve the consciousness of the value of diverseness successful companies, we connection investors a glimpse into the transparency of Alibaba and its committedness to diversity, inclusiveness, and societal responsibility. We examined the information Alibaba releases to amusement you however it reports the diverseness of its committee and workforce to assistance readers marque educated purchasing and investing decisions.

Below is simply a array of imaginable diverseness measurements. It shows whether Alibaba discloses its information astir the diverseness of its committee of directors, C-Suite, wide management, and employees overall, arsenic is marked with a ✔. It besides shows whether Alibaba breaks down those reports to uncover the diverseness of itself by race, gender, ability, seasoned status, and LGBTQ+ identity.

Alibaba Diversity and Inclusiveness Reporting
  Race Gender Ability Veteran Status Sexual Orientation
Board of Directors        
General Management          
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