Alibaba quarterly profits almost double to $1.55 bn

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Already a billionaire entrepreneur in his own right, Jack Ma, founder and chairman of Alibaba Group just become the richest man in mainland China.

Revenue at e-commerce giant Alibaba jumped 60% in the first three months of the year, powered by a growing customer base in China.

The company reported a revenue of 158.3 billion yuan in the fiscal year ended in March, increasing 56 percent, and an operating margin of 30 percent. "Our core commerce segment continued its significant growth and strong cash flow at large scale, enabling our aggressive investment in cloud computing, digital media and entertainment to drive the digital transformation of the economy and high-quality consumption across China".

For the quarter, sales across its e-commerce businesses rose 47% to $4.5 billion.

Alibaba, often compared to eBay or Amazon of the United States, has been expanding outside its core e-commerce business into sectors ranging from sports to entertainment.

In October 2016, Alibaba invested in Hollywood director Steven Spielberg's production company Amblin Partners to produce, distribute and market films both in China and around the world.

On Wednesday morning, meanwhile, Tencent reported first quarter revenue of RMB49.6 billion (up 55%, equal to $7.2 billion) and net income of RMB14.5 billion (up 58% and equal to $2.1 billion), beating consensus estimates of RMB46.4 billion ($6.7 billion) and RMB13 billion ($1.9 billion), respectively.

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"Investors will be paying attention to Alibaba's top-line growth guidance for next year".

Digital media and entertainment revenue grew even faster, rising 234% year-on-year to $571m.

It also 97 million monthly mobile active users to reach 507 million, with active buyers for the year totally 454 million.

Ant is behind Alipay, a platform that accounts for 80 percent of electronic payments in China where it is used for e-commerce at Alibaba online venues and a large number of mobile applications.

Daniel Zhang, chief executive officer of Alibaba, said the robust quarter demonstrated Alibaba's successful interaction with its 500 million consumers as well as its ability to create value.

"There is vast potential for growing the user base of our core commerce platforms through conversion of users in our digital media and entertainment metrics as well as through the payment platform of our affiliate company Alipay".

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