Chinese Internet business-to-business e-commerce goliath Alibaba.com Limited says it has increased the number of its paying small and medium-size enterprise members by almost 50% as it announced unaudited financial results for the quarter ended March 31, 2009.
David Wei, chief executive officer of Alibaba.com, stated: "Although the worldwide economy weakened during the first quarter and China's export sector declined by nearly 20%, our increase in revenue and paying members shows that we are providing SMEs around the world with an affordable and effective global trade solution when they need it most. We are pleased that Alibaba.com helps sustain the operations of so many SMEs which are the backbone of most economies around the world. While our Q1 revenues increased 19% year-on-year, we have taken the decision, as previously announced, to reinvest our profit margin into customers, people, and technology innovation in order to position ourselves for future growth."
As a result of the strong increase in the number of paying members, deferred revenue and customer advances grew by CNY191 million during the quarter to reach CNY2.4 billion as of March 31, 2009, representing an increase of 28% year-on-year and 8% quarter-on-quarter. Total revenue was CNY807 million in the first quarter of 2009, representing a 19% increase from the same period of 2008 and was flat from the fourth quarter of 2008.
As of March 31, 2009, Alibaba had 481,575 paying members, representing a 47% increase from the first quarter of 2008 and a 12% increase from the fourth quarter of 2008. In the first quarter of 2009, Alibaba.com posted record high quarterly net additions of Gold Supplier members of 12,782.
Cash and bank balances for the Chinese B2B Internet company as of March 31, 2009 were CNY6.9 billion, representing a 28% increase year-on-year and a 5% increase quarter-on-quarter.