But in the end, the company spent a record sum in 2018 – something the market was pleased with. More than 278.8 billion yuan, or $ 41.6 billion, spent on product development, sales and marketing, general administration, and revenue spending last year, an increase of 86.2% in renumber terms in 2017 when the company came out from 149.7 billion yuan.
"Ali seems more disciplined in operating costs, although senior management has suggested not to withdraw from investing in these strategic ventures," Nomura said in a study published Thursday.
These "strategic firms" include what Alibaba calls a "new retail" ̵
"It's all about how to integrate online and offline to become an entire digitized trading world," Alibaba Chief Executive Daniel Giann told CNBC last year's interview.