JD.com reports 21% growth in revenue in Q1 as China market slows

JD.com has posted its slowest quarterly growth as China's economic slowdown continues

Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com has reported a 21% increase in net revenues, marking its slowest Q1 growth on record.

JD.com’s revenues hit RMB121.1bn ($18bn), narrowly beating analyst expectations, and net income was RMB7.3bn ($1.1bn), a significant year-on-year increase from RMB1.5 bn in the first quarter of 2018.

Annual active customers reached 310.5 million in the year ending March 31, 2019, up from 305.3 million in December 2018. Quarterly active customer accounts in the first quarter of 2019 increased by 15% compared to the same period in 2018.

The results come at the end of a tough year for the retail giant, which is currently restructuring the business and laying off staff.

The restructure is a result of China’s slowing economic growth, the ongoing trade war with the US and the company’s volatile market performance last year after JD.com founder and CEO Richard Liu was arrested for alleged rape charges in the US.

In the current market climate, JD was keen to talk up its results highlighting its highly lucrative partnership with Tencent, which it has renewed for another three years. The deal enables links to JD.com’s stores in the hugely popular WeChat app. The two companies also continue to partner on a number ofretail, communications and advertising deals.

Last year, JD.com signed a partnership deal with Google, which saw the search giant invest $550m in a joint plan to develop "next generation" retail services.

Richard Liu, chairman and CEO of JD.com, said, “JD.com’s focus on delivering the best and most trusted online retail experience to customers throughout China drove another strong performance for the first quarter. We will continue to invest in key technologies and top industry talent as we work to reach an even broader customer base through cutting edge innovation.”

Sidney Huang, chief financial officer of JD.com, said, “The first quarter saw solid top-line growth with record-breaking profitability, further demonstrating the superiority of JD.com’s business model as compared to traditional retail formats.

“JD’s commitment to providing the best value to consumers while increasing economies of scale over time was again reflected in the improving margins in our core JD Retail business. We will remain focused on customer experience and technology innovation to support our long-term profitable growth.”

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