RPT-Alibaba revenue growth seen slowest on record; to intensify fight with JD.com

Mon Jan 25, 2016 6:00pm EST
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(Repeats story moved on Monday with no changes)

* Shifts focus to wealthier customers after rural push

* Competition with JD.com set to intensify

* Alibaba reports Q3 results Thursday

By John Ruwitch and Paul Carsten

SHANGHAI/BEIJING, Jan 25 (Reuters) - Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd is expected to post its weakest quarterly revenue growth on record, Thomson Reuters data shows, a slowdown analysts say will heat up the battle with smaller rival JD.com Inc in a tougher economy.

Alibaba's revenue for the quarter ending December is projected to grow at 26.6 percent, according to a Thomson Reuters SmartEstimate survey of 28 analysts, which would be the slowest rate since the company started publishing such data 3-1/2 years ago.

The pace also lags the 47-51 percent revenue growth JD.com projected for the same period, which is also the slowest expansion since the company started releasing records.

Alibaba and JD.com declined to comment, citing the pre-earnings quiet period.   Continued...