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Alibaba revenue up 19% in Q1
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Alibaba.com Limited, a leading business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce company in China, said late Wednesday its revenue rose 18.6 percent year on year in the first quarter to 806.6 million yuan (118.3 million U.S. dollars), as more companies resorted to online trading to lower cost at a time of financial crisis.

Statistics showed the company's online market had a total of 40.3 million registered traders both at home and abroad as of March 31, up 36 percent from a year earlier. It increased 6 percent compared with the last quarter in 2008.

The growth in client numbers reflected online market's capability to resist the blow from economic crisis and e-commerce's potential to development, the company said in its quarterly report.

However, Alibaba's net profit dropped 15.7 percent year on year in the first three months to 253.4 million yuan.

The company attributed the decline to an enhanced investment in customer service, employee training and technology innovation for market expansion.

Net profit rose 27.1 percent compared with the previous quarter, Alibaba said.

The online trader pledged to continue investment in the next several quarters in areas such as the development of new Internet trading platform supporting multiple languages, employee recruitment and global marketing.

Alibaba's combined cash and bank deposit exceeded 1 billion U.S. dollars by the end of the first quarter, up 28 percent from a year earlier.

The figure more than doubled from the 400-million U.S. dollar fund reserve it had when coming into the market in 2007 and made Alibaba an Internet company with the biggest cash reserve in the country.

(Xinhua News Agency May 7, 2009)

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