Alibaba Posts Record Sales in 2015, Growth Slows
March 24, 2016
Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba on Monday announced that, with 10 days left in its fiscal year, it had exceeded three trillion yuan ($461 billion) in gross merchandise volume (GMV), a milestone the company has been pointing to since 2012 when it surpassed two trillion yuan ($307 billion). While the yearly transaction volume is a record for Alibaba, growth has slowed. Transaction volume grew 46 percent for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2015. This year, despite surging past the three trillion yuan milestone, volume grew only 23 percent. Alibaba’s Executive Vice Chairman Joe Tsai explained in a post on the company’s corporate blog that it is time to look past simple growth as a measure of success.
“Growth is meaningless unless it is sustainable,” said Tsai. “Thus, we have turned our focus to quality growth and broadening domestic consumption. In the past year we have stepped up efforts to bring quality producers and brands onto our platform, especially foreign imports; and our Rural Taobao initiative has thus far penetrated over 12,000 of China’s 600,000 villages to bring everyday items that city dwellers normally enjoy to the rural population. As you can see, we still have a lot of work ahead of us. While GMV is a proxy for scale, our focus on quality and sustainable growth means how we measure success is no longer dependent on a simplistic view of GMV growth.”