After the China e-commerce giant offered up a bullish outlook on day one of its investor meeting, the company’s stock soared tremendously and Ma saw his net wealth rise $2.8 billion to $41.8 billion, according to data from Bloomberg. The 52-year-old is now Asia’s richest man and the 14th-wealthiest in the world, per the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
On Thursday, Alibaba CFO Maggie Wu said the company expects total sales growth of 45 to 49 percent for fiscal year 2018, handily topping analysts’ forecasts by 10 percentage points.
“So last year, we guided 48 percent year-on-year revenue growth in June, and then we adjusted up to 53 percent by the end of the year, and we turned out to show the growth of 56 percent,” Wu said of the firm’s estimate-beating track record. “So the reason behind that, of course, is the value we provide to the merchants.”
On day two of the investor meetings, Ma took the stage to continue the bullish posturing. Alibaba’s founder said he expects the company to create 100 million jobs worldwide and support 10 million businesses on its platform.
“If a company can serve 2 billion consumers, that is one-third of the total population of the world,” Ma said to investors. “If the company can create 100 million jobs, this is probably bigger than any — most of government can do. And if your company can support 10 million profitable businesses on its platform, this is called economy.”
The business also touted the company’s extensive big-data investments as well as its plans to do more acquisitions in that realm.
“We are moving faster on cloud computing; we are moving faster on the mobile technology; we’re also an investor on the operating systems,” Ma said. “And we [have a] big vision … to be sure that Alibaba is a real high-tech company.”
Last month, the company reported fourth-quarter revenue above analysts’ expectations, with sales rising 60 percent to 38.6 billion yuan, or $5.6 billion in the quarter ended March 31. (Market watchers had expected the company to post revenues of 36 billion yuan.)
Net income attributable to shareholders rose to 10.65 billion yuan ($1.6 billion), or 60 cents per share.