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alibaba: Alibaba says profit falls 81% as China tech crackdown bites


SHANGHAI: Chinese e-commerce leader Alibaba Group said on Thursday that its profit for the most recent quarter tumbled 81 percent as a government crackdown on the country’s big tech champions bit into its bottom line. Alibaba said its profit came in at 5.37 billion yuan ($833 million) for the July-September period, falling from 28.77 billion yuan earned over the same stretch last year. The Hangzhou-based company’s revenues, generated mainly by its core e-commerce operations, reached 200.7 billion yuan, up 29 percent, roughly in line with previous years’ growth rates. Alibaba’s earnings results have been keenly anticipated for a gauge of how one of the country’s highest-profile companies was faring under the government’s drive to rein in big tech. China’s ruling Communist Party had previously relied upon its tech giants to push forward digital transformation in the country. But it abruptly turned on the sector late last year as concerns mounted over its aggressive expansion, alleged monopolistic practices, and data security — paralleling similar unease with tech firms in the United States and elsewhere. Alibaba was the first to feel the wrath. Last year the government scuppered what would have been a world-record stock IPO by Alibaba’s financial arm, Ant Group, and in April fined Alibaba a record $2.78 billion for anti-competitive practices. Since then, the government has taken a number of other measures against major Chinese digital players, sending their share prices tumbling.


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