Shares dive after China spending slowdown warning

Alibaba shares have slumped by more than 10% in Hong Kong trade after the Chinese online retail giant warned of a slowdown in consumer spending.

The company forecast that its annual revenue would grow at the slowest pace since its stock market debut in 2014.

The weak figures underscore the firm’s struggles with increasing competition and Beijing’s regulatory crackdown.

On Thursday, Alibaba’s US-listed shares ended the New York trading session more than 11% lower.

In the three months to the end of September, Alibaba’s revenue rose by 29% to 200.7bn yuan ($31.4bn, £23.3bn), its slowest rate of growth for a year and a half.

The company also said it expects its annual revenue to grow by between 20% and 23%, which is lower than analysts’ forecasts.

Chinese consumption slows
Alibaba chief executive Daniel Zhang told investors that increasing competition and slowing consumption in China were the main causes of the weaker growth.

Chinese shoppers have become more cautious about spending as new coronavirus outbreaks, power cuts and concerns about the property market weigh on sentiment.

The latest figures do not include sales from this month’s Singles Day, or “11.11 Global Shopping Festival”.

This year Alibaba’s usually glitzy event was a more toned down affair than previously as Beijing cracks down on businesses and China’s economic growth slows.

Sales for the 11-day event rose at their slowest rate since it was launched in 2009, up 8.5% on last year.

However, customer spending still hit a fresh record high of 540.3bn yuan.

Alibaba has come under intense scrutiny from Beijing as tough new rules have been imposed on the country’s big technology companies.

Earlier this year, it paid a record $2.8bn fine after a probe found it had abused its dominant market position for years. Alibaba also said it would change the way it conducted its business.

The company’s shares have lost more than a third of their value so far this year.