One of the world’s leading internet giants appears to be feeling the effects of China’s economic slowdown and the trade war with the United States.
The Alibaba Group, China’s largest e-commerce company, said on Wednesday that revenue increased by 51 percent in the March quarter from the same period last year. That topped Wall Street’s expectations, and represents a pickup from the quarter before. But it is still the company’s second-slowest pace of revenue expansion since early 2016.
For the full year that ended March 31, revenue also grew by more than half. The company said, however, that the increase was partly the result of adding several recently acquired businesses, such as the takeout delivery service Ele.me, to its sales computations. Without those, it said, full-year sales would only have increased by just under two-fifths, the slowest growth in three years.
Alibaba also said the number of customers on its Chinese retail marketplaces for the full year that ended in March grew to more than 650 million, an increase of over 100 million.
China’s economy has slowed since the tariff fight with the United States began last year. Diplomacy with Washington has frayed. Alibaba’s sprawling business makes it a closely watched bellwether for consumer and business sentiment in China, even if its enormous size makes finding new ways to make money difficult.
But Alibaba’s scale and breadth may also put it in a better position than many other Chinese businesses to weather the present choppiness.
With services from commerce and food delivery to payments and travel booking now under its umbrella, Alibaba has built such