Shares of Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce giant listed in the U.S., experienced a decline after the company announced that it would not proceed with the full spin-off of its cloud group due to export restrictions on chips from the U.S. The stock saw a decrease of over 8% during pre-market trading on Thursday.
Alibaba had planned to publicly list its Cloud Intelligence Group, which competes with Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure. However, the company stated that the restrictions on chip exports have created uncertainties for the prospects of the cloud group. The U.S. had previously barred sales of advanced chips from Nvidia in October.
In its earnings release, Alibaba revealed that it believes a full spin-off of the Cloud Intelligence Group may not achieve the intended enhancement of shareholder value. Instead, the focus will be on developing a sustainable growth model for the unit under the current circumstances.
This decision represents a setback in Alibaba’s goal to reorganize into six separate business units, marking one of the most significant shake-ups in the company’s history. The company had already announced the postponement of the listing of its Freshippo retail chain for groceries.
Despite the change in plans for the cloud unit, Alibaba still intends to list its Cainiao smart logistics division in Hong Kong. This marks the first set of earnings for Alibaba since the appointment of Eddie Wu as CEO.
Alibaba reported a net income of 27.7 billion yuan ($3.8 billion) for the September quarter, falling short of analysts’ expectations. However, revenue for the period reached 224.79 billion yuan ($31 billion), meeting expectations with a year-over-year increase of 9%.
Adding to their announcement, Alibaba also revealed that it will issue its first-ever annual cash dividend in 2023, demonstrating the company’s commitment to sharing profits with shareholders. The board of directors has approved a $0.125 cash dividend per ordinary share or $1 per American depositary share (ADS) for the fiscal year, totaling approximately $2.5 billion. The dividend will be paid to investors on December 21, 2023.
Despite challenges in the Chinese economy, Alibaba reported healthy year-over-year growth in users of its Taobao and Tmall domestic online shopping sites. The company saw positive order growth on these platforms during the annual 11:11 Chinese shopping holiday.