E-COMMERCE giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd said it expects to nearly double its transaction volumes by 2020, even as it signaled its intention of shifting away from that measurement as it faces an investigation into its accounting.
At an investor conference at its headquarters in Hangzhou, Alibaba said it expects to record 6 trillion yuan (US$910 billion) in gross merchandise volume in fiscal 2020, nearly double 3.09 trillion yuan in fiscal 2016.
From now on it would report GMV only annually, rather than quarterly, Chief Financial Officer Maggie Wu said.
Alibaba’s astronomical GMV — the value of goods sold on its platforms — has wowed some observers and raised suspicion among others because of the way it is calculated. By comparison, China’s total retail sales of consumer goods in 2015 was 30.1 trillion yuan, according to government statistics.
"GMV is still a very important metric,” Wu said.
But earlier, Executive Chairman Jack Ma noted that it was not “the only metric.”
Last month, Alibaba said that the US Securities and Exchange Commission had launched a probe into its accounting practices to determine whether they violated federal laws.
Questions about Alibaba’s growth rate and its relations with affiliated companies have dogged the firm for years.
Mentioning the investigation, Wu said the company wanted to be cooperative and transparent.
One of the issues the SEC is probing is the accounting for Cainiao, a logistics data company that is around 47 percent-owned by Alibaba and run by Judy Tong, an Alibaba partner.
Cainiao, started jointly in 2013 by Alibaba, Yintai Holdings, Fosun Group, Forchn Holdings and five major delivery companies, has in the past been unconsolidated in Alibaba’s financial statements, raising questions among some investors and analysts.