Chinese e-commerce giant (NASDAQ:JD) reported fourth-quarter results in the early hours of Friday. The 46% year-over-year sales growth didn't result in stronger earnings, but the spinoff of JD Finance put a lid on the company's net losses.

JD's fourth-quarter results: The raw numbers

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Q4 2017

Q4 2016

Year-Over-Year Change

Net revenue

$16.9 billion

$11.6 billion


Net income (loss) from continuing operations

($139.7 million)

($63.6 million)


GAAP earnings per diluted ADS




Data source:

What happened with this quarter?

JD's online retail sales rose 37% year over year while online services and other operations reported 55% year-over-year revenue growth. This growth was matched step-for-step by rising cost of revenue, while order fulfillment expenses and technology costs rose about twice as quickly.

At the end of the fourth quarter, JD had 293 million active customer accounts. That's a 29% year-over-year increase. The gross merchandise value handled by JD's e-commerce systems rose 33% to land at $64 billion.

The bottom line was supported by the lack of negative contributions from JD Finance, a money-losing online hub for financial services. After facing regulatory pressure in early 2017, that unit was spun off as a stand-alone business last summer and is now reported as discontinued operations. JD Finance made an insignificant contribution to JD's top line last year while representing 27% of the company's net losses. Adding back JD Finance's results to the year-ago period would result in JD's net losses shrinking from $245 million to $21 million.'s cartoon-dog mascot overlaid on a cartoonish city skyline on the top half and a lineup of products like household appliances, books, and clothing on the bottom half of the background.

Image source:

What management had to say

In a prepared statement, JD CEO Richard Liu highlighted how his company is shaping e-commerce trends in China.

"Our unmatched online shopping experience continued to reshape Chinese e-commerce, win over consumers and drive robust growth in 2017," Liu said. "As we implement our vision of 'boundaryless retail,' we are working with top industry players to build China's most advanced and comprehensive retail ecosystem to reach consumers wherever and whenever they shop."

Looking ahead

In the quarters ahead, artificial intelligence and data analysis will go hand in hand to support and evolve a data-driven business model. Heavy investments in technology and back-end infrastructure will continue in 2018.

In the first quarter of the new fiscal year, JD expects top-line sales to grow roughly 32% year over year -- excluding any impact from JD Finance in the previous-year period. According to the company's estimates, that should result in first-quarter sales near $15.6 billion.

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