Alibaba flies above Ant turmoil with strong earnings growth

Alibaba flies above Ant turmoil with strong earnings growth

Group will continue to offer customer credits despite clampdown on microloans: chairman

HONG KONG — Alibaba Group Holding, China’s largest e-commerce company, shrugged off concerns over the last-minute suspension of the highly anticipated listing of affiliate Ant Group with another quarter of strong earnings growth, as the online shopping momentum amid the coronavirus pandemic continues.

But analysts say strong regulatory signals from Beijing about reining in online lending could harm e-commerce transaction volumes, as well as Alibaba’s bottom line where it records profits from its one-third ownership of Ant.

Ant was expected to list in Shanghai and Hong Kong this week, but the initial public offering was unexpectedly suspended after top Ant executives and controlling shareholder Jack Ma were summoned to a meeting with Chinese regulators on Monday.

“As Ant Group’s major shareholder, Alibaba is actively evaluating the impact on our business in response to the recent proposed change in the fintech regulatory environment and will take appropriate measures accordingly,” Daniel Zhang, CEO and chairman of Alibaba, said in a conference call on Thursday.

Despite the tightened regulations on online microloans, Zhang said Alibaba will continue to provide multiple payment methods for customers including credit-based options.