ArrowArtboardCreated with Sketch.Title ChevronTitle ChevronIcon FacebookIcon LinkedinIcon Mail ContactPath LayerIcon MailPositive ArrowIcon PrintIcon Twitter
Retail Trade

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.

Company Background

Alibaba Group, set up in 1999, is China's largest electronic commerce company. Its head office is in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province. Having grown into an enterprise handling a wide variety of businesses ranging from cloud services and finance to media, besides e-commerce, the company listed on the New York Stock Exchange last year.


Founder Jack Ma, who first used the Internet in the U.S. in the mid-1990s, created in 1999 a website to support e-commerce. His company had initially focused on business-to-business transactions, before opening the Taobao online shopping site for individual users in 2003.


Thanks to the rapid spread of the Internet and expanding consumer spending in China, the users of Taobao soared at a fast pace. Today, for consumer-to-consumer deals and Tmall for business-to-consumer are two pillars of Alibaba's operations. The number of annual active buyers on Alibaba sites has reached 350 million.


Increasingly, more online shoppers are shifting to smartphones. Alibaba is been pushing ahead with efforts to attract smartphone users primarily by improving the convenience of the AliPay online payment system. As a result, the mobile monthly active users of its sites have reached close to 300 million in number. The company intends to enhance its financial business with Alipay at the center as well as to step up its cloud, information technology and big data businesses.


The company raised around $20 billion through its initial public offering in New York in 2014. It is acquiring other companies with the money raised. In August this year, Alibaba bought the majority of new shares issued by China's second biggest retailer, Suning Commerce Group, for 28.3 billion yuan, becoming the second largest shareholder in Suning. In China, Tencent and other local rivals are reinforcing strategies to erode Alibaba's dominance in e-commerce.


After failing to pass university entrance exams twice, Jack Ma once gave up going higher education and worked as a driver. A self-made man, he enjoys strong popularity among Chinese.

Business Summary

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. engages in providing online and mobile marketplaces in retail and wholesale trade. It operates through the following business segments: Core Commerce, Cloud Computing, Digital Media & Entertainment, and Innovation Initiatives and Others. The Core Commerce segment consists of platforms operating in retail and wholesale. The Cloud Computing segment consists of Alibaba Cloud, which offers a complete suite of cloud services, including elastic computing, database, storage, network virtualization, large scale computing, security, management and application, big data analytics, a machine learning platform and Internet of Things (IoT) services. The Digital Media & Entertainment segment relates to the Youko Tudou and UC Browser businesses. The Innovation Initiatives and Others segment includes businesses such as AutoNavi, DingTalk, and Tmall Genie. The company was founded by Chung Tsai and Yun Ma on June 28, 1999 and is headquartered in Hangzhou, China.

Financial Highlights

Mar 2021 HKDUSD
Gross Profit326,285.95M42,086.66M
Operating income104,475.08M13,475.93M
Income before tax189,334.93M24,421.75M
Net income171,874.00M22,169.52M
Diluted EPS7.811.00
Dividends Per Share00
Total Assets2,004.71B257,858.89M
Total liabilities719,428.98M92,537.60M
Total equity1,111.92B143,023.19M
Operating cash flow265,042.37M34,187.03M
Currency in HKDCurrency in USD

Historical Data

 Mar 2017Mar 2018Mar 2019Mar 2020Mar 2021
Revenue 182,505.24M 294,897.09M 440,328.19M 571,883.94M 820,204.75M
Gross Profit 108,997.16M 161,317.54M 189,327.19M 244,012.01M 326,285.95M
Operating income 56,400.62M 83,201.02M 70,022.47M 107,186.93M 104,475.08M
Income before tax 69,219.68M 118,308.33M 112,430.65M 186,971.83M 189,334.93M
Net income 50,361.82M 75,395.74M 102,357.34M 167,469.63M 171,874.00M
EBITDA 72,757.40M 108,988.88M 113,180.81M 154,566.89M 158,298.62M
Diluted EPS 2.44 3.60 4.87 7.84 7.81
Dividends Per Share -- -- -- 0 0
Total Assets 571,574.77M 894,747.61M 1,127.37B 1,434.80B 2,004.71B
Total liabilities 206,010.49M 346,385.74M 408,458.58M 473,520.53M 719,428.98M
Total equity 317,831.09M 456,531.63M 575,068.82M 825,511.11M 1,111.92B
Operating cash flow 92,624.23M 147,493.32M 176,408.67M 202,636.87M 265,042.37M
 Mar 2017Mar 2018Mar 2019Mar 2020Mar 2021
Revenue 23,521.83M 37,762.20M 56,149.34M 73,162.45M 105,795.79M
Gross Profit 14,047.89M 20,657.05M 24,142.44M 31,217.02M 42,086.66M
Operating income 7,269.08M 10,654.07M 8,929.05M 13,712.67M 13,475.93M
Income before tax 8,921.24M 15,149.63M 14,336.82M 23,919.74M 24,421.75M
Net income 6,490.78M 9,654.58M 13,052.30M 21,424.78M 22,169.52M
EBITDA 9,377.19M 13,956.26M 14,432.48M 19,774.10M 20,418.47M
Diluted EPS 0.31 0.46 0.62 1.00 1.00
Dividends Per Share -- -- -- 0 0
Total Assets 73,547.54M 114,005.73M 143,615.52M 185,114.55M 257,858.89M
Total liabilities 26,508.45M 44,135.30M 52,033.27M 61,092.33M 92,537.60M
Total equity 40,897.00M 58,169.72M 73,257.64M 106,505.19M 143,023.19M
Operating cash flow 11,937.69M 18,886.83M 22,495.10M 25,923.80M 34,187.03M

Valuation Measures

Mar 2021
Operating margin12.73%
Profit margin20.95%

Key executives

  • Executive Chairman & Chief Executive Officer: Yong Zhang
  • President & Director: John Michael Evans
  • Chief Financial Officer: Hong Xu
  • Chief Technology Officer: Li Cheng
  • VP, Head-Global Intellectual Property Enforcement: Matthew Bassiur


  • SoftBank Group Corp. (24.8%)
  • MA FAMILY (2.2%)
  • The Vanguard Group, Inc. (2.0%)
  • APN Ltd. (1.8%)
  • BlackRock Fund Advisors (1.6%)
  • Norges Bank Investment Management (1.0%)
  • Baillie Gifford & Co. (0.9%)
  • BlackRock Advisors (UK) Ltd. (0.4%)
  • Jack Ma Philanthropic Foundation (0.4%)

Contact Details

Related Companies

  • Qookka Entertainment Ltd.
  • Hanyun Capital Investment Management Co., Ltd.
  • Alibaba (Shanghai) Internet of Things Technology Co., Ltd.
  • Beijing Auchan Supermarket Co., Ltd.
  • Daraz Nepal Ltd.
  • Alibaba Group (Pakistan)
  • Hangzhou Meitou Information Technology Co., Ltd.
  • Hanbao (Shanghai) Information Technology Co., Ltd.
  • Alisoft China Holding Ltd.
  • Alisoft Investment Holding Ltd.
  • Alibaba ZT Investment Ltd.
  • Hangzhou Alimama Software Services Co., Ltd.
  • Alimama China Holding Ltd.
  • Alimama Investment Holding Ltd.
  • Alibaba Singapore Holding Pvt Ltd.
  • International (BVI) Holding Ltd.
  • International (Cayman) Holding Ltd.
  • Hema Investment Holding Ltd.
  • Hangzhou Ali Venture Capital Co., Ltd.
  • Ali UC Investment Holding Ltd.
  • Ali CN Investment Holding Ltd.
  • Alibaba Group Properties Ltd.
  • HQG, Inc.
  • Alibaba Cloud Computing (Zhangbei) Co., Ltd.
  • Zhejiang Tmall Network Technology Co., Ltd.
  • Hangzhou Zhenqiang Investment Management Ltd.
  • Tianjin Tmall E-Commerce Co., Ltd.
  • Alibaba (Beijing) Software Services Co., Ltd.
  • MoreCommerce
  • Alibaba Local Services Co.


  • Tencent Holdings Ltd.
  •, Inc.
  • Yandex NV Class A
  • Alphabet Inc. Class A
  • Seven & I Holdings Co., Ltd.
  • OVH Groupe SAS
  • UCloud Technology Co., Ltd. Class A
  • D-MARKET Elektronik Hizmetler ve Ticaret AS Sponsored ADR
  • Jumia Technologies AG Sponsored ADR
  • Etsy, Inc.
  • Societe anonyme
  • VeriSign, Inc.
  •, Inc. Class A
  • BEC World Public Co., Ltd.
  • iQIYI, Inc. Sponsored ADR Class A
  • Cloudflare Inc Class A
  • Gradiant Corporation
  • Baidu, Inc. Class A
  • Sunwave Communications Co., Ltd. Class A
  • Accor SA
  • ContextLogic, Inc. Class A
  • Hamashbir 365 Ltd
  • Aurora Mobile Ltd. Sponsored ADR Class A
  • Booking Holdings Inc.
  • Puregold Price Club Inc.
  • TripAdvisor, Inc.
  • Liberty TripAdvisor Holdings Inc Class A
  • VNET Group, Inc. Sponsored ADR
  • Com7 Public Co. Ltd.
  • eBay Inc.
Last Updated on 25 May, 2022

Nikkei Asian Review, now known as Nikkei Asia, will be the voice of the Asian Century.

Celebrate our next chapter
Free access for everyone - Sep. 30

Find out more