However, in 2018, the company earned a record amount – something that was satisfied in the market. Over 278.8 billion yuan, or US $ 41.6 billion last year, was spent on product development, sales and marketing, general administration, and revenue costs, which is 86.2% more than in 2017 when the company sprayed 149.7 billions of yuan.
"Ali turns out to be more disciplined in spending on activity-related expenditure, although senior management suggested they would not invest in these strategic companies," a study published on Thursday, Nomura said.
These "strategic companies" include what Alibaba calls "new retail" – a term it uses to describe the way it can integrate all its services from logistics to brick and mortar stores to create a shopping "ecosystem" .
"It's all about integrating online and offline to transform the entire digitalized commercial world," Alibaba CEO Daniel Zhang told last year in an interview with CNBC.