Alibaba misses revenue estimates, approves cloud unit spinoff

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(Reuters) -China’s Alibaba Group Holding Ltd posted a 2% rise in quarterly revenue that missed expectations and said its board has approved a spinoff of its cloud-computing business.

The company logged revenue of 208.20 billion yuan ($30.12 billion) for the three months ended in March, compared with a Refinitiv consensus estimate of 210.3 billion yuan drawn from 26 analysts.

Chinese consumer spending has gained some momentum since the country abandoned draconian zero-COVID policies late last year, but it still remains relatively muted amid a wobbly economic recovery.

Earlier this year, Alibaba announced plans to restructure into six units, a move that followed a two-year regulatory crackdown on China’s tech sector. It expects all of its units except for its China-facing e-commerce division to seek outside funding and go public.

Alibaba on Thursday approved a full spinoff of the Cloud Intelligence Group via a stock dividend distribution to shareholders. It aims to complete the spinoff in the next 12 months.

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Finance chief Toby Xu also said Alibaba’s board has approved the process to start external financing for Alibaba International Digital Commerce Business Group and initial public offering (IPO) explorations for Cainiao Smart Logistics Group and the execution of the IPO for Freshippo.

Earlier this month, Reuters reported that the company’s logistics arm aims to raise $2 billion via a listing in Hong Kong that will likely take place early next year.

Net income attributable to ordinary shareholders was 23.52 billion yuan, compared with a loss of 16.24 billion yuan.

Alibaba has also been struggling to attract new users as China’s e-commerce sector matures and it grapples with inroads made by new competitors such as PDD Holdings and Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok that is also owned by ByteDance.

Revenue for the full year climbed 2% to 868.69 billion yuan, marking its slowest rate of growth since the company went public in 2014.

($1 = 6.9121 Chinese yuan renminbi)

(Reporting by Chavi Mehta in Bengaluru and Josh Horwitz in Shanghai; Editing by Edwina Gibbs and Devika Syamnath)

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