Alibaba Group Predicts 48% Rise for 2017 in Annual Sales Forecast

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Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba Group is predicting a 48% rise in fiscal year 2017 in its first annual sales forecast, boosted by recent acquisitions and plans for expansion, reports USA Today.

The expected growth comes after major acquisitions of the video streaming service Youku Tudou and private ecommerce company Lazada Group, based in Singapore, within the past year.

Excluding the consolidated revenues from Youku and Lazada, the growth would be over 36%.

A bumpy year so far

After holding the biggest initial public offering in 2014, Alibaba faced a series of challenges last year – including lawsuits involving the sale of counterfeit goods –  sending its stock into a spiral. Shares fell as low as $57.20, undercutting its IPO price of $68, after the Chinese stock market crashed in August.

Alibaba founder and Executive Chairman, Jack Ma, said the key to the company’s long term growth will be expanding into international markets and investing in big data according to Alibaba’s website.

Ma aims to serve 2 billion people, create 100 million jobs around the world and have a valuation equivalent to the GDP of the fifth-richest country in four years.

“We have the world’s largest retailer, but we are not a retail business, we are a data business,” Ma said.

Possible risks to future growth include difficulty entering international markets, concentrated voting ownership and Chinese geopolitical concerns according to Stifel. China has criticized Alibaba for illegally allowing the sale of fake and forbidden goods.

Shares rose 3% Tuesday to $77.77 and continued to gain early Wednesday.

A version of this appeared in USA Today. Find the full article here.