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As black swan lands, Alibaba sees explosion in demand

New consumer behavior lifts fresh-food delivery and telecommuting tool

Inside an empty Wuhan branch of Alibaba's Freshippo supermarket chain, a customer pushes a cart while shopping.    © Reuters

NEW YORK/SHANGHAI -- Alibaba Group Holding, the first major Chinese technology company to report results since the virus outbreak began, is warning of the potential economic consequences as it scrambles to meet consumer demand amid mass quarantines and labor shortages.

"Like all the other companies in China, we are confronted with a 'black swan' event soon after the start of 2020 -- the novel coronavirus," CEO Daniel Zhang said Thursday on an earnings call. "The outbreak is having significant impact on China's economy and may potentially affect the global economy."

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