(Reuters) - Alibaba Group Holding Ltd <BABA.N>, China's biggest e-commerce company, reported a 56 percent increase in third-quarter revenue, beating analysts' expectations as the firm shrugged off any concerns about a market slowdown.
The company also said it would buy a 33 percent stake in its payment affiliate Ant Financial in exchange for certain intellectual property rights owned by the ecommerce giant.
Revenue for the October-December period rose to 83.03 billion yuan ($13.19 billion), up from 53.25 billion yuan a year earlier.
That exceeded the 79.8 billion yuan average estimate of 28 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.
Alibaba saw its shares nearly double last year on the back of strong sales and is currently valued at $523 billion, but is now looking to fend off a growing challenge from rivals in its key retail business that analysts expect will drag on growth.
Net income attributable to shareholders rose to 24.07 billion yuan, or $1.41 per share, up 34.8 percent from 17.9 billion yuan in the same quarter a year earlier.
That compared with the 21.5 billion yuan estimate of analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters.
Revenue from Alibaba's core commerce business rose 57.3 percent. The company typically reports higher revenue in the third quarter due to the Singles' Day sale held on Nov. 11, the world's biggest sales event.
($1 = 6.2941 Chinese yuan renminbi)
(Reporting by Supantha Mukherjee in Bengaluru and Cate Cadell in Beijing; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)