What happened

Good news out of China is helping some of the biggest names in Chinese e-commerce to outperform the market today, as shares of Alibaba Group Holding (BABA -0.92%), JD.com (JD -2.02%), and Pinduoduo (PDD -0.19%) climbed in afternoon trading.

As of 12:45 p.m. EST on Tuesday, both Alibaba and JD.com were up 4.6%, and Pinduoduo more than doubled that by rising 11.2%.

Flying Chinese dragon kite

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

As the first big economy to emerge from the shadow of the coronavirus, China is booming. At last week's National People's Congress, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang set a target for 6% growth in gross domestic product for 2021, more than twice the 2.3% growth seen last year. And outside analysts are suggesting the actual number could be as high as 8% to 9% GDP growth.  

Nor are these merely aspirational numbers. Over the weekend, Al-Jazeera confirmed that in the first two months of 2021, China is already setting a record pace for export production, and exports are at their highest level in more than two decades.

The growth is showing up in the numbers of China's dominant e-commerce brands, too. Last month, Alibaba reported 37% growth in sales for the fourth quarter of 2020, and 52% growth in earnings.

Now what

Investors today are betting that Alibaba can keep up the pace -- and betting that China's economic rebound benefited Alibaba peers JD.com and Pinduoduo as well.

We won't have to wait long to find out if they're right. JD.com will release fourth-quarter earnings results before the market opens on March 11. Pinduoduo can't be far behind; although the company hasn't announced an official release date yet, last year it released its numbers on March 11.    

Analysts predict we'll see lots of growth at both names. JD is expected to report better than 38% sales growth (and better growth than Alibaba) for the fourth quarter, and earnings per share could more than double to $0.19, according to Yahoo! Finance estimates.

Pinduoduo could nearly double its sales (projections are for 92% growth), and is expected to transform last year's fourth-quarter loss into a $0.04-per-share profit this time around.

No wonder investors are getting excited.