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Alibaba sales soar 46% as it moves closer to IPO launch

August 27, 2014, 2:35 PM UTC
Alibaba Group Holdings Ltd. and Founder Jack Ma As Company Files for U.S. Initial Public Offering of E-Commerce Giant
Photo by Nelson Ching/Bloomberg—Getty Images

Alibaba quietly released its second-quarter earnings Wednesday, and the results are anything but reserved.

Sales are up 46% year-over-year to $2.54 billion for the three months ending June 30. Alibaba’s trailing 12-month gross merchandise volume hit $296 billion from 279 million active buyers, according to a company filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Alibaba is heading toward an initial public offering that is expected to launch as soon as next month.

The booming sales could push the hype around the Chinese retailer even higher, especially as it gains a larger share of the Chinese e-commerce market, which is expected to reach between $420 billion and $650 billion by 2020, according to estimates by consulting firm McKinsey & Co.

The company didn’t provide any new details on its IPO terms in its filing.

Alibaba’s mobile engagement was a standout in the quarter. Mobile gross merchandise volume represented 32.8% of overall sales compared to only 12% in the same quarter a year ago.

“A significant portion of our customers have begun transacting on our mobile platform,” Alibaba said in its SEC filing. “And we are focused on capturing this opportunity.”

The number of monthly active users on mobile also climbed rapidly, reaching 188 million in June. That’s a 38% gain in monthly active users over the past six months.

China has the largest number of mobile Internet users in the world with 500 million users logging on as of last year, according to the China Internet Network Information Center, which Alibaba referenced in its filing. Combined with an underdeveloped physical retail infrastructure in the country, consumers are choosing to “leapfrog the offline retail market in favor of online and mobile commerce,” Alibaba said.