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.

Anders Bylund owns shares of Alibaba. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.