Tsai also brushed aside concerns about the trade war, saying people were overly anxious about its impact on China's economy. This compared with analysts' view of 21.28 billion yuan, according to I/B/E/S estimates from Refinitiv.
However, Alibaba's Executive Vice Chairman Joe Tsai noted that sales ticked up in December, but demand for big-ticket items declined.
The 41pc growth announced on Wednesday was the weakest Alibaba had recorded in three years.
To be sure, Alibaba's revenues are still eye-popping by most standards: revenue for the quarter ended December 31, 2018 was 117.28 billion yuan (US$17.06 billion), an increase of 41 percent over the same period in 2018. However, the consensus estimates call for $1.00 in EPS and $13.77 billion in revenue for the quarter.More news: Proteas take series with comfortable win at Newlands
Alibaba Group Vice Chairman and Co-founder Joe Tsai, in remarks made to analysts Wednesday morning and emailed to Retail Dive, pushed back against the idea that any of that would cause much of a ripple for the company's fortunes - echoing comments by Alibaba Group President J. Michael Evans during a panel at the National Retail Federation's Big Show in NY earlier this month.
"This profitability and $7.5 billion in free cash flow generated this quarter enable us to continue to invest in other important strategic businesses and technology to support the growth of our ecosystem", Wu said in the earnings release on Wednesday.
Alibaba did not issue any guidance for the fiscal fourth quarter. The company said it has since repurchased 10.86 million of its ADSs for $1.6 billion.
Anticipating headwinds from economic uncertainty, Alibaba had lowered its revenue outlook for its financial year ending March even before the top sales season. Growth is expected to ease further this year.More news: Pope Reaffirms Priest Celibacy But Makes A Case For Exception
Chief Executive Daniel Zhang said the company remains optimistic, adding that younger buyers were driving sales.
Cloud computing is a bright spot for Alibaba.
The cloud computing segment saw a massive gain in revenue for the quarter, with revenues growing 84% year over year to $962 million, primarily driven by increased spending from enterprise customers.More news: Twitter war: Kangana's sister Vs director Krish