China's Alibaba Group Holding Ltd beat market expectations for revenue in the quarter ending late June, even though growth was flat for the first time ever due to the impact of COVID-19 lockdown.
China locked down dozens of cities between April and May as the infectious Omicron variant raged, with cities such as its largest and most cosmopolitan hub of Shanghai facing the harshest curbs that paralysed intra and inter-city delivery.
In Shanghai, for instance, households for nearly the whole of April were unable to place orders from Taobao or Ele.me, Alibaba's e-commerce and food delivery sites, and instead relied on the government and roundabout channels for food and supplies. The delivery situation only slightly eased in May.
Shopping Festival Boost
The lockdown lifted on 1 June, just in time for China's annual 18 June shopping festival. However, the festival did little to boost overall business in the quarter.
"Following a relatively slow April and May, we saw signs of recovery across our businesses in June. Despite near-term challenges, Taobao and Tmall continue to achieve high consumer retention, especially among consumers with higher spending power," the company said.
Revenue stood at 205.56 billion yuan (€29.9 billion) in the quarter, compared to analysts' average expectation of 203.19 billion yuan (€29.5 billion), according to Refinitiv data.
Net income attributable to ordinary shareholders for the quarter ended 30 June was 22.74 billion yuan (€3.3 billion), compared to 45.14 billion yuan (€6.6 billion), a year earlier.