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John123 in Gainers & Losers,

3 things to watch for in Alibaba’s earnings

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba (BABA) is scheduled to announce earnings for its fiscal first quarter, which ended June 30, on Thursday before the market opens. Wall Street analysts estimate it will report a net income of $1.5 billion on revenues of $3 billion, up 48% year-over-year.

Three things to look out for tomorrow include Alibaba’s new financial metrics, growth in the company’s cloud business AliCloud, and Southeast Asia expansion.

New financial metrics by operating segment

At Alibaba’s first-ever Analyst Day this June, Alibaba’s Chief Financial Officer Maggie Wu revealed the company would increase transparency around its financials. In addition to providing annual revenue guidance, Wu said Alibaba would break down revenue and operating income, margins and non-GAAP EBITDA by operating segment, which would include the company’s online marketplace, cloud, mobile media and entertainment businesses.

Cloud computing as key growth driver

Expect Alibaba’s rapidly growing cloud computing arm AliCloud to play a prominent role as a key growth driver in fiscal first quarter earnings and future earnings in the short- to medium-term. Morgan Stanley equity analyst Robert Lin boldly forecast in June that AliCloud would see faster growth than Amazon Web Services and generate revenues of about $9 billion by 2020.

“China’s cloud industry is on the brink of massive growth, with AliCloud best positioned,” wrote Oppenheimer internet analyst Jason Helfstein in a July report. “In addition to AliCloud’s leadership in infrastructure, middleware/security/pricing are differentiators that should drive share gains globally.”

Expansion into Southeast Asia

The e-commerce giant’s fiscal first quarter also marked a period of successful expansion into Southeast Asia and India, including the $1 billion acquisition of the Lazada Group, a five-year-old e-commerce company in Singapore. For Alibaba, the move marks an important step towards reducing its reliance on China, where it has previously generated most of its sales.

The Lazada acquisition significantly expands Alibaba’s footprint, adding sales of clothing and electronics in six Southeast Asian markets, including Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. For now, however, expect the deal to squeeze Alibaba’s total operating margin.

I can't wait to see Q1 data. I like the company a lot, have a sizable position and hope BABA will not disappoint.