Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba is expected to post its weakest quarterly revenue growth on record when it reports later this week.
That is according to analysts at Thomson Reuters who are predicting growth of 26.6 percent for the final three months of last year. It would be the slowest rate since the company started publishing such data three and a half years ago.
That should heat up Alibaba’s battle with smaller internet rival JD.com in a tougher Chinese economy.
Recent figures suggest Alibaba, which is China’s biggest e-tailer, has been losing market share.
JD.com – which is likely to have enjoyed as much as 51 percent revenue growth for that same period – has focused on more affluent shoppers in China’s biggest cities, a strategy that may be paying off in a weakening economy.
There were more signs of that on Monday, as the Ministry of Finance in Beijing said profit fell at state firms last year, and Japan reported that exports to China, its biggest trading partner, were down for a fifth straight month.