Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd's third-quarter revenue rose 32 percent, beating analysts' average estimate, helped by strong holiday sales.

Alibaba's U.S.-listed shares were up 4.6 percent at $72.72 in early trading on Thursday.

Gross merchandise volume, or the total value of goods transacted on its platforms on China retail marketplaces, rose 23 percent to 964 billion yuan ($147 billion), its slowest annual growth rate in more than three years.

Alibaba is trying to replace decelerating volume growth in online shopping by expanding in other areas.

It offered $3.7 billion to become sole owner of Youku Tudou Inc, known as China's YouTube. Online video users in the country are beginning to cough up money for high-quality online streaming services.

But the majority of Alibaba's revenue still comes from China's online shoppers buying from domestic businesses, a business driven by growth in GMV.

Net income attributable to shareholders reached $1.93 billion, or 76 cents per share. Excluding items, Alibaba earned 99 cents per share.

Revenue rose to 34.53 billion yuan in the quarter ended Dec. 31, compared with the average analyst estimate of 33.33 billion yuan, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

($1 = 6.5760 Chinese yuan)