May 13, 2019

JD.com's earnings present questions about China's growth

JD.com headquarters in California. Photo: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

Despite rape allegations against its CEO, China's second-largest e-commerce company, JD.com, posted record quarterly earnings Friday with a $1.1 billion profit after a $364.6 million loss last year.

The big picture: The Nasdaq-listed company's stock got a major boost after reporting earnings but investors are starting to worry about its long-term health. As Axios' Erica Pandey reported, the 21% revenue growth posted by Chinese e-commerce giant was its slowest on record, signaling that the rush of new Chinese customers is starting to plateau. JD's chief rival, Alibaba, has also reported slowing growth.

Why it matters: The e-commerce companies experienced massive booms in earlier years as millions of new Chinese users entered the urban middle class and became customers. Now, the pace of growth for that user base is slowing down, forcing both JD and Alibaba to expand into other Asian markets to add shoppers.

My thought bubble: A big key to bullish expectations for China is that the country still has significant room to grow because of the number of rural citizens who could move into higher earning urban areas and occupations.

  • Together, India, China and Nigeria are expected to account for 35% of the projected growth of the world's urban population between 2018 and 2050, with China adding 255 million urban dwellers.

The bottom line: The dramatic slowing in revenue growth for JD and Alibaba suggest that growth may have hit a snag. That could have wide-ranging consequences for China and its trading partners.

Go deeper: JD.com makes 90% of its Chinese deliveries within 24 hours

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LATAM Airlines files for U.S. chapter 11 bankruptcy

A LATAM air attendant aboard one of the company's planes in March. Photo: Kike Calvo/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

LATAM Airlines Group SA said in a statement early Tuesday the firm and its affiliates in in the United States, Chile, Peru, Colombia and Ecuador have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the U.S.

Why it matters: Latam is Latin America's largest airline and its shareholders include Delta Air Lines. CEO Roberto Alvo noted in the statement the coronavirus pandemic has had a huge impact on the airline industry.

Novavax starts human trials for coronavirus vaccine

Novavax's Nita Patel with a computer model showing the protein structure of a potential coronavirus vaccine at the lab in Gaithersburg, Maryland in March. Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

Novavax began clinical trials of a vaccine for the novel coronavirus in Australia on Tuesday, per a statement from the Maryland-based biotechnology firm.

The state of play: 131 volunteers in the Australian cities of Melbourne and Brisbane will undergo injections as part of the study, the company’s research chief Gregory Glenn said during a briefing, per Australian Associated Press.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 12:30 a.m. ET: 5,495,061 — Total deaths: 346,232 — Total recoveries — 2,231,738Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 12:30 a.m. ET: 1,662,302 — Total deaths: 98,220 — Total recoveries: 379,157 — Total tested: 14,604,942Map.
  3. World: Italy reports lowest number of new cases since February — Ireland reports no new coronavirus deaths on Monday for the first time since March 21 — WHO suspends trial of hydroxychloroquine over safety concerns.
  4. 2020: Trump threatens to move Republican convention from North Carolina — Joe Biden makes first public appearance in two months.
  5. Public health: Officials are urging Americans to wear masks over Memorial Day.
  6. Economy: New York stock exchange to reopen its floor on Tuesday — White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett says it's possible the unemployment rate could still be in double digits by November's election — Charities refocus their efforts to fill gaps left by government.
  7. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredTraveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy