阿里巴巴预报公司营收强劲增长

编辑:给力英语新闻 更新:2017年6月10日 作者:纽约时报孟宝勒(By PAUL MOZUR)

中国浙江省杭州郊区的阿里巴巴总部。周四,阿里巴巴的首席财务官武卫(Maggie Wu)表示,该公司预期在下个三月结束的财年营收增幅会落在45%至49%间。
中国浙江省杭州郊区的阿里巴巴总部。周四,阿里巴巴的首席财务官武卫(Maggie Wu)表示,该公司预期在下个三月结束的财年营收增幅会落在45%至49%间。Alibaba’s headquarters on the outskirts of Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, China. Alibaba’s chief financial officer, Maggie Wu, said on Thursday that the company expected revenue for the year that will end next March to grow between 45 percent and 49 percent.

阿里巴巴集团周四发出的信号表明,尽管全球有着对中国债务攀升、国有行业臃肿的担忧,但中国经济仍有一个强大的支柱:在线购物者。

中国电子商务巨头阿里巴巴在周四的投资者日大会上说,公司预测本财年的营收增幅将高于分析师的预期。公司给出的理由包括对其在线市场销售额增长的预期,以及商家对其数字广告空间需求的激增。

阿里巴巴股票在纽约交易所周四上午开盘前上涨了近12%,继续了其上涨的趋势,有望让公司股票达到自三年前上市以来的最高值,公司三年前的首次公开募股筹资超过200亿美元,是当时全球最大的一笔。

阿里巴巴的预测显示了中国巨大且领先的在线文化的力量。虽然政府严格控制网上的政治内容和娱乐产品,但中国已发展成拥有世界上最大的互联网用户群体的市场,这些用户通过智能手机轻松地进行购物、转账、投资,甚至租自行车等交易。随着经济学家对中国企业债务攀升、中国的钢铁和玻璃等老行业产能过剩等问题表示担忧,网上购物一直是中国经济的亮点。

但中国数字经济的增长不会永远持续下去,就连阿里巴巴的数字也显示,中国的在线世界不能抗拒收益递减的规律。尽管如此,据官方统计,中国的网上购物人数去年仍增长了近13%,达到可观的4.67亿,显示出这个巨大的市场仍在增长。

阿里巴巴及其最大竞争对手、中国的游戏和社交媒体集团“腾讯控股”,在过去一年中,随着公司发布强劲的盈利数字,两家公司股价均实现大涨,这些盈利数字意味着,中国消费者仍然有消费的意愿。阿里和腾讯股票的上涨也与美国最大的技术公司,比如苹果、谷歌和Facebook的市值激增同步。

阿里巴巴首席财务官武卫在投资者日大会上讲话时表示,公司预测,截止于明年3月底的2018财年营收将增长45%到49%。这与今年3月份结束的2017财年56%的营收增长相比略有下降。尽管如此,这个数字显示,公司预计在未来一年将继续保持快速的增长趋势。

虽然阿里巴巴是中国最大的电子商务公司,但它并不直接在网站上销售商品。阿里的做法是提供交易平台,让所有的人,从小村庄居民到大型全球品牌的经营者,都能在其平台上建立在线商店,向中国客户进行销售。为了招揽消费者,阿里巴巴也为公司提供在线广告空间。

这个空间看起来越来越值钱。

武卫在讲话中表示,公司收入的约60%来自其阿里妈妈广告平台,该平台是一个拍卖网站,阿里巴巴的许多供应商可在其上投标购买广告空间。武卫说,由于市场的力量,该平台上的广告价格一直在上升。

过去曾出现过来自阿里巴巴商家的抱怨,这些商家中很多是小公司,它们在阿里的淘宝网站上与其他小卖主相互竞争。商家曾抱怨阿里收取的广告费不断增长,这种批评甚至还引发了公司办公楼前的几次抗议活动。

尽管如此,中国在线广告空间的定价,与欧洲和美国等更发达的市场相比长期以来偏低。阿里巴巴的高营收增长目标表明,这种差距可能在开始缩小,对一家本质上属于广告行业的公司来说,是个好消息。

“我们增加收入不是靠用枪对着商家的头,”武卫说。

“所有的决定都是商家自己做的,”她说。“他们在为每个点击竞价。”

大的营收增长目标很重要,因为投资者已对阿里巴巴在其在线平台上销售的商品总价值增长的放缓表示担忧。阿里巴巴称之为全年商品交易额,2017财年的全年商品交易额增长了22%,低于公司近年来宣布的数字。

孟宝勒(Paul Mozur)是《纽约时报》记者。
翻译:Cindy Hao

Alibaba Predicts Strong Sales in a Sign of Strength From China

The Alibaba Group signaled on Thursday that for all the global worries about China’s rising debt and bloated state industries, its economy still enjoys a strong pillar of support: online shoppers.

Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce giant, said Thursday during an investor conference that it expected revenue for its current fiscal year to grow at a much higher rate than analysts had forecast. It cited expectations for growing sales volumes on its online marketplaces and, even more strongly, surging demand by merchants for its digital ad space.

Alibaba’s shares, which trade in New York, surged nearly 12 percent in premarket trading early Thursday, continuing a run that has taken them to their highest levels since the Chinese company raised $25 billion three years ago in what was then the world’s largest initial public offering.

Alibaba’s forecast illustrates the power of China’s vast and cutting-edge online culture. Though the government strictly controls political content and entertainment, China has evolved into the world’s largest group of internet users who comfortably shop, transfer money, invest and even rent bicycles with the tap of a smartphone. Online shopping has been a bright spot as economists worry about China’s rising corporate debt and overcapacity in its old-line industries like steel and glass.

China’s digital growth will not last forever, though, and even Alibaba’s numbers show that China’s online world cannot counter the laws of diminishing returns. Still, the ranks of China’s online shoppers grew nearly 13 percent last year to a considerable 467 million, according to official statistics, showing the already vast market is still growing.

Alibaba and its largest rival, a Chinese games-and-social-media conglomerate called Tencent Holdings, have seen their shares surge over the past year as they report strong profits that suggest Chinese consumers still have a desire to spend. Their rise mirrors the surge in shares in the biggest technology names in the United States, like Apple, Google and Facebook.

During a speech at the conference, Alibaba’s chief financial officer, Maggie Wu, said that the company expected revenue for the year that will end next March to grow between 45 percent and 49 percent. That is slightly down from the 56 percent growth the company registered in fiscal year 2017, which ended in March. Still, it nonetheless shows the company is expecting to keep growing at a fast pace in the coming year.

Although Alibaba is China’s largest e-commerce company, it does not directly sell the goods on its websites. Instead, it provides marketplaces where anyone from small village dwellers to big global brands can set up online shops and sell to Chinese customers. To reach those customers, Alibaba also offers online advertising space.

That space is looking increasingly valuable.

During her speech, Ms. Wu said the company got about 60 percent of its revenue from its Alimama advertising platform, which works as an auction site on which Alibaba’s many vendors can bid for advertising space on its sites. On that platform the price for ads has been rising as a result of market forces, Ms. Wu said.

At times in the past, Alibaba’s merchants, many of which are small businesses that duke it out with other small sellers on the company’s Taobao marketplace, have complained about increases in what the company would charge for promotions. Such criticism even led to several protests at the company’s offices.

Still, the pricing of online ad space in China has long lagged behind what it can cost in more developed markets in Europe and the United States. Alibaba’s high revenue growth target shows that gap may be starting to close, which is good news for a company that is in essence an advertising company.

“We’re not holding a gun to merchants’ heads to make revenue grow,” Ms. Wu said.

“It’s all determined by merchants,” she said. “They bid for every single click.”

The big revenue growth target is important because investors have been concerned about the slowdown in the total value of the merchandise Alibaba sells on its online platforms. That figure, which Alibaba calls gross merchandise value, grew 22 percent in 2017, a figure smaller than what the company had posted in recent years.