The Chinese e-commerce conglomerate Alibaba Group reported strong earnings for the December quarter on Thursday, beating analyst expectations on the top and bottom line. Total revenue was up 38 percent to $23.19 billion, while net profit jumped 62 percent to $7.2 billion. Not all is well for China's most valuable internet company, however, as CEO Daniel Zhang warned that the coronavirus could have a significant effect on the Chinese economy and on Alibaba's business by consequence. During yesterday's earnings call, Zhang called the outbreak a "black swan event", adding that it would "present near-term challenges to the development of Alibaba's business across the board."
Currently valued at $589 billion, Alibaba is China's largest internet company and often referred to as "Chinese Amazon". Given their similar business models – both companies are primarily known for their e-commerce activities but also offer other services including cloud infrastructure – it's a natural comparison to make and while there are certainly similarities between the two companies, Alibaba still has a long way to go in matching Amazon's size. Coming in at $87.4 billion for the December quarter, Amazon's revenue is nearly four times as high as Alibaba's. In terms of profits, however, Amazon's Chinese equivalent has already surpassed the original. Amazon's operating profit for the three months ended December 31 amounted to $3.88 billion, while Alibaba raked in $5.68 billion.