What China’s big earnings say about the consumer

by | Aug 17, 2023 | Financial

Tencent sign is seen at the World Artificial Intelligence Conference (WAIC) in Shanghai, China July 6, 2023. Aly Song | ReutersBEIJING — Corporate earnings releases are picking up on a few bright spots for China’s consumer in a competitive market where people are less willing to open their wallets.JD.com, Tencent and Alibaba this month reported results for the three months ended June that pointed to a steady pick-up in consumer spending that quarter, but with less clarity on whether that growth has continued.Here’s where companies said they saw consumer-related growth, according to public disclosures and FactSet transcripts of earnings calls:JD.comElectronics and home appliance revenues rose by 11.3% to 152.13 billion yuan ($20.98 billion) in the three months ended June.But general merchandise revenue fell by 8.6% from a year ago to 81.72 billion yuan.Marketing revenue rose by 8.5% to 22.51 billion yuan.TencentLivestreaming e-commerce saw 150% year-on-year growth in gross merchandise value in the second quarter to an unspecified number. GMV measures total sales value over a certain period of time.On an annualized basis, that livestreaming GMV “is in the tens of billions” yuan.WeChat Mini program e-commerce has GMV “in the trillions” of yuan on an annualized basis. GMV for physical products has exceeded 1 trillion yuan on an annualized basis.Advertising revenue across all categories — except automotive — is up double-digits from a year ago in recent weeks. Ad sales rose by 34% to 25 billion yuan in the quarter ended June.Overall, Tencent reported earnings for the quarter that missed expectations, but showed a third-straight quarter of revenue growth.AlibabaDirect China commerce sales, primarily from Tmall Supermarket and Tmall Global, grew by 21% year-on-year to 30.17 billion yuan.The overall Taobao and Tmall Group saw revenue grow by 12% to 114.95 billion yuan.A recovery in offline shows and the movie theater box office boosted Alibaba’s ticketing and movie studio units. Video platform Youku also saw subscription revenue rise. In all, digital media and entertainment revenue surged by 36% year-on-year to 5.38 billion yuan — and its first profitable quarter.Local services revenue rose by 30% to 14.5 billion yuan. That was driven by orders on food delivery app Ele.me and growth in Alibaba’s map app Amap, which sells services such as ride-hailing and hotel booking.Alibaba management did not provide much detail on the state of the consumer since the end of June.Overall, Alibaba’s earnings soundly beat expectations for the quarter.China consumption amid sluggish growthData for July have pointed to a slowdown in China’s economy, including a modest 2.5% year-on-year increase in retail sales.Theme parks, however, have done well as tourism has picked up domestically.Shanghai Disney saw record high revenue, operating income and margin during the latest quarter, the company said.Read more about China from CNBC ProGoldman names China stocks set for a bounce — and 2 make its list of top buy-rated picksMorgan Stanley …

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