posts record Q4 profit on new members posts record Q4 profit on new members

Shanghai: Ltd, China’s largest e-commerce company, posted a better-than-expected record quarterly net profit, up 46%, on higher new membership sign-ups. said it will focus less on accelerating customer acquisitions and will put more focus on servicing existing clients.

Sales of, a unit of Alibaba Group, 40% owned by Yahoo Inc, are closely tied to China’s exports as its website connects millions of international buyers with Chinese suppliers.

The firm, which replaced two top executives last month after an increase in fraudulent transactions on its website, makes its revenue from customers buying membership packages as well as value-added services.

The company raised the price of its popular China Gold Supplier package in January and analysts said this could lead to a drop in membership sign-ups in the first quarter of 2011.

Alibaba said its paying members rose 7.8% from the previous quarter to 809,362.

October-December profit rose 46% to 410.4 million yuan from 281.2 million yuan a year earlier. That beat average forecast of 387.32 million yuan from five analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue grew 37.6% to 1.52 billion yuan.

In February, replaced its chief executive and chief operating officer. Jonathan Lu, chief executive of Alibaba Group’s unlisted crown jewel Taobao, is the new CEO.’s shares ended down 4.2% before the results were announced. They are down about 1% this year, outperforming a 3% fall in the Hang Seng Index.