Overall, Alibaba's growth appeared strong. Total GMV in its China retail marketplaces was US$97 billion, a 40% increase over last year. Total number of annual active buyers in the China retail marketplaces was 350 million, a 37% increase from 255 million the year earlier.
Mobile continued to surge for Alibaba with total mobile GMV exceeding US$49 billion, a 157% increase year over year. Alibaba recorded 289 million monthly active users for its mobile commerce apps, a 24 million net increase, or 77% YOY increase. It credited its strength in mobile to demonstrating its ability to attract users with strong commercial intent.
"We grew our active buyers, especially in rural areas, and expanded key categories and updated our infrastructures," Zhang said. "We made a big push for our mobile Taobao app this year and expanded and diversified our customer base." He said that Alibaba's Tmall marketplace has pioneered cross-border commerce and attracted major global brands and retailers to the platform.
Although Alibaba's mobile investments have not left its PC pay-for-performance business unscathed (Zhang noted additional decreases in CPCs), he said the drop-off has been offset by growth in commission revenue and increased marketing spend in mobile promotions on Tmall.
Alibaba's product development expenses increased as a percentage of revenue (representing 17% or US$491 million compared to 10% of revenue last year) primarily due to the increase in share-based compensation expenses, which the company claims were offset by a reduction in royalty fees paid to Yahoo upon completion of its initial public offering.