What happened

Shares of China-based e-commerce giant Alibaba Group (NYSE:BABA) gained 10.8% in August, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence. The company released a rock-solid earnings report in the middle of the month, followed by a plethora of flattering analyst price-target hikes.

So what

In the first quarter of fiscal year 2018, Alibaba's sales rose 53% year over year to land at $7.4 billion. Free cash flows jumped 70% higher, stopping at $3.3 billion. Bottom-line earnings nearly doubled to $2.1 billion, or $1.17 per American depositary share. Analysts had been expecting earnings of roughly $0.92 per ADS on revenue near $7.2 billion.

Alibaba shares rose more than 9% over the following week as investors and analysts absorbed the stellar report.

Alibaba's logo, gold on white.

Image source: Alibaba.

Now what

As crazy as it might sound, Alibaba is just getting started. You don't see a lot of companies with $450 billion market caps acting like hungry start-ups, but that's exactly what is going on here. Next up, founder and Chairman Jack Ma is setting his sights on expansion outside the core Chinese market on the way to a trillion-dollar annual economy powered by Alibaba's services and technologies.

I own Alibaba shares today, and that I plan to hold on to that position for the long haul. We're watching a legend in the making here, and the terrific first-quarter report only underscored the power of Alibaba's flexible business model.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.