Alibaba Group Holding Ltd Q1 Earnings Preview

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Chinese online retail giant Alibaba is set to report its fiscal first-quarter results on Wednesday, August 12 before the U.S. market opens. Shares of the company are down more than 3% to $77.91 a day before earnings. China’s economic growth is decelerating, which may have an impact on Alibaba’s growth. Analysts don’t expect the Hangzhou-based company to deliver a stellar quarter.

Will slowing Chinese economy affect Alibaba?

Analysts on average expect Alibaba’s June quarter revenue to jump 33.50% YoY to $3.39 billion. The company’s Q1 revenue growth was likely hurt by a government order for suspension of online lottery sales. Earnings are expected to decline 57% YoY to $842 million. Alibaba has been investing aggressively in its mobile map, browser and other services. The company is also investing in offline services that likely pressured its Q1 margins.

Investors will be looking for growth outlook in the current quarter and the rest of the year. Analysts are concerned that a slowing Chinese economy may affect consumer growth in e-commerce. Investors will pay particular attention to details about Alibaba’s recent $4.6 billion investment in consumer electronics retailer Suning. The company has been focusing on online-to-offline (O2O) e-commerce opportunities to build a solid ecosystem and delivery network.

How Alibaba plans to leverage Suning

Investors would want to know how the Jack Ma-led company will leverage the electronics retailer’s physical stores. Suning has more than 1,600 outlets in 289 Chinese cities. Alibaba may use Suning’s vast network to speed up the delivery of home appliances and electronics in rural areas and small towns.

The company has also invested $1 billion in food delivery service Koubei in an attempt to draw Chinese smartphone users to its mobile payment service. Alibaba is expanding its business overseas to keep growing at a rapid pace. Last week, the e-commerce giant named former Goldman Sachs VP Michael Evans as its President to oversee its international expansion.

Alibaba is investing $1 billion in its cloud computing unit Aliyun as part of its globalization strategy. After opening a cloud center in the U.S., Aliyun plans to open more centers in Singapore, the Middle-East, Japan, and Europe.

Alibaba shares were down 3.22% to $77.88 at 12:21 PM EDT on Tuesday.

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