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Alibaba.com: Showing Stamina on the Asia BW50


In a rough market, the e-company's strong profits put it among Asia's leaders

HONG KONG - Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba.com, flagship of Hangzhou's Alibaba Group, runs a business-to-business service for small-to-midsize importers and exporters. Since a November IPO, the shares have fallen over 60% amid worries about China's weakening exports and rising labor costs. CEO Jack Ma even said recently Alibaba needs to prepare for "winter."

Yet on Aug. 28, Alibaba surprised investors with a 136% jump in second-quarter earnings, to $102 million. "During downturns, stronger leaders such as Alibaba tend to seize market share at the expense of weaker rivals," notes Morgan Stanley (MS) analyst Richard W. Ji.

Alibaba ranks No. 3 on this year's list of the Asia BW 50. Although many on the list have seen their stocks take a beating, almost all still have robust sales, good margins, and strong market positions. The rankings, compiled by Standard & Poor's Compustat, are based on average return on capital and sales growth over the past three years. Trends to note: infrastructure plays in India, the surprising presence of Pakistani blue chips, and the resilience of Taiwanese tech. For more on the BW 50 methodology and on how these companies perform, see businessweek.com/globalbiz/asia.

Business Exchange related topics:

eCommerce

China Business

Imports & Exports

Einhorn is Asia regional editor in BusinessWeek's Hong Kong bureau.

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