HONG KONG: Alibaba had its first quarterly operating loss since it went public in 2014 after Beijing slapped a record USD 2.8 billion fine on the nation’s largest e-commerce company for abusing its market position.
The loss tied to the anti-monopoly fine was 7.66 billion yuan (USD 1,170 million) for the quarter that ended in March, though revenue growth was 64 per cent, reaching 187.4 billion yuan (USD 28.6 million).
At the opening bell on the NYSE Thursday, shares tumbled more than 6 per cent.
Authorities launched an investigation into Alibaba last year and abruptly halted the USD 37 billion initial public offering of shares from its financial affiliate Ant Group as Beijing grew increasingly concerned over the growing influence of technology giants in China.
Beijing has fined multiple technology firms over antitrust violations and has since launched a probe into Alibaba rival Meituan over suspected anti-competitive behaviour.
“We have stated that we accept the penalty with sincerity and will ensure our compliance with determination,” said Alibaba chairman and CEO Daniel Zhang in an earnings call Thursday.
“The penalty decision motivated us to reflect on the relationship between a platform economy and society as well as our social responsibilities and commitments,” he said.
The company said Thursday that it expects revenue in this fiscal year, which ends in March 2022, to grow by more than 30 per cent, reaching over 930 billion yuan (USD 144 billion). That is better than most industry analysts are expecting. .
It also reported a total of 811 million annual active users for the quarter ended March.
Alibaba Group Holding’s New York-listed stock has fallen 14 per cent since Beijing announced that its investigation into the company.