Investors had their eyes on the progress of the restructuring program announced earlier in the year, aimed at separating the conglomerate's activities into six distinct divisions. This has now been postponed.

Neither the rise in profits - linked above all to an increase in the value of shareholdings - nor the improvement in cash flow or the introduction of a dividend found favor with the market, which punished the share and sent it back to its all-time lows.

The real disappointment came when Alibaba - which changed its CEO last September - announced that it was abandoning the spin-off of its cloud division, and incidentally the independent listing of its Freshippo supermarket chain.

The group cites US sanctions aimed at controlling the export of artificial intelligence technologies to China as justification for this U-turn. In practice, one can speculate that Alibaba has no interest in making public the difficulties of the cloud division, which would come to light if the latter became an independent entity.

Against this backdrop, the IPO of Cainiao's logistics business is likely to disappoint, and to make matters worse, Jack Ma's family office has signaled its intention to sell ten million shares. The least we can say is that a signal of this nature does not produce the hoped-for signal of confidence.

On paper, Alibaba retains a cash position and a portfolio of liquid holdings equivalent to half its market capitalization. A priori, this would leave the group's activities with only a very modest multiple of their operating profit. On this subject, however, it is worth noting that the Group is piling up profits on its balance sheet, without disclosing the details of its cash investments.

There's more opacity to come in this case than ever before. In addition to the slowdown in the Chinese economy, the company's illegible offshore control structure, the continuing dubious accounting of Chinese companies and Jack Ma's difficulties with party officials remain other sources of structural concern.