Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba.com Limited (HKG:1688) surpassed Tencent (HKG:0700), owner of China’s most popular instant messaging program, as the most profitable Internet company in China in the last quarter of 2012, according to Sina Tech. Trailing behind the two is Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU), China’s predominant search engine company.
Alibaba has made a number of high-profile announcements recently, from scrapping Yahoo!China’s email services, to a partnership with Weibo, China’s most popular microblogging site owned by Sina (NASDAQ:SINA). With the unveiling of its 2012 performance, Alibaba has made one more important leap, booking a far greater net profit increase than its rivals.
In fourth quarter 2012, Alibaba’s revenue was $1.84 billion, an 80.4 percent increase from the same period in 2011. Its gross profit was $1.35 billion, a 93.2 percent increase. Its net operating profit was $750 million, a 167 percent increase. Its net profit of $640 million also increased by 160 percent.
Tencent during the same period had revenue of $1.93 billion, a 3.4 percent increase from same period in 2011. Its net profit was $5.5 million, an increase of 36 percent. Baidu earned $1.02 billion, a 41.6 percent increase. Baidu’s net profit was 4.5 million, a 36.1 percent increase.
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Notably, Alibaba’s revenue was lower than Tencent''s, but its profit jumped by a much higher percentage than either Tencent's or Baidu's. With this level of growth, Alibaba could become the champion in revenue as well among China’s Internet companies.