Alibaba Group Holding, the controversial Chinese e-commerce company, has crossed another milestone.
Executive vice chairman Joseph Tsai said Monday that with 10 days to go in the current fiscal year, transactions on Alibaba’s online marketplaces had reached 3 trillion yuan, or $476 billion. That’s a growth of 23 percent, but less than the 46 percent increase recorded in the year ended Mar. 31, 2015.
“Back in 2012, we achieved 1 trillion yuan in GMV (gross merchandise volume). Then, it seemed tripling our GMV would be a tall order and, a bit more than three years later, here we are,” Tsai said in a blog post on Alizila, Alibaba’s news website, noting that it reflects China’s shift toward consumption and services, and calling the trend “a massive transformation” that will drive the country’s economy for years to come.
In January, Alibaba boasted a 32 percent year-over-year increase in revenue to reach 34.5 billion yuan ($5.3 billion), driven mostly by its core online marketplaces Taobao and Tmall. But the company has come under fire from several industry groups of late, including the American Apparel and Footwear Association, for allowing the sale of counterfeit goods on its platforms. So, after barely avoiding being blacklisted by the U.S. Trade Representative, former Pfizer exec Matthew Bassiur came aboard as vice president of global intellectual property enforcement in January.
“Growth is meaningless unless it is sustainable. Thus, we have turned our focus to quality growth and broadening domestic consumption,” Tsai continued, calling the milestone “just a gas stop” as the company looks to the future. “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.”