Baidu Posts Upbeat Profit & Revenue Despite China’s Weak Economy


Baidu, Inc. (NASDAQ: BIDU)

Leading Chinese search engine operator Baidu reported upbeat fiscal 2018 fourth quarter profit and revenue on Thursday, despite broader economic slowdown in the world’s second-biggest economy.

The downturn in China’s economy as well as advertising pinched by tighter government regulation is expected to weigh on Baidu’s revenue growth in fiscal 2019 first quarter. Shares of the Nasdaq-listed company were down 2.67% to $167.22 as of 11:50 a.m. in New York.

Its Netflix-like streaming service iQiyi brought in revenues of 7 billion yuan, a 55% increase year-on-year, the company said. For the full year, the service added 36.6 million subscribers bringing its total subscribers to 87.4 million.

BIDU Earnings & Outlook

Fourth quarter net income attributable to the company was 2.08 billion yuan ($309.55 million), compared to 4.16 billion yuan in the same period last year. Earnings, adjusted for non-recurring items came to 13.18 yuan per share (1.96), based on American depositary share.

Analysts surveyed by Refinitiv expected Baidu to post adjusted earnings of 11.83 yuan per American depositary share in the quarter. Total revenue for the three months ending in December was 27.2 billion yuan, up 22% year over year.

More than three quarters of the revenue (21.5 billion yuan, or $3.15 billion) came from its online marketing business that includes a video app, news feeds and search. For the current year, the search giant forecasts first quarter revenues of between 23.5 billion to 24.7 billion, in line with Wall Street expectations.

Baidu Executive Comments

“We are excited to enter the new year on strong footing with Baidu 2018 revenues reaching RMB 102 billion, up 28% annually,” stated Robin Li, CEO of Baidu. “2018 was a pivotal year for Baidu, as we worked on deploying AI technologies beyond search to feed, voice assistant, AI solutions and autonomous driving, to enable more users, customers and partners to benefit from Baidu’s AI.”

Baidu Chief Financial Officer Herman Yu commented, “The diversification of Baidu’s business from mobile internet into the smart home, smart transportation, cloud and autonomous driving markets will require heavy investments. Nevertheless, these investments taken together give Baidu a balanced portfolio for short-term, medium-term and long-term returns, and we hope to see these investments bear fruit and accelerate Baidu’s revenue growth in the coming years.”

Baidu, Inc. Profile

Baidu, Inc. is a Chinese language internet search company, which engages in the provision of internet search solutions and online marketing solutions. It operates through Baidu Core and iQIYI segments. The Baidu Core segment offers keyword-based marketing services.

The iQiyi segment focuses in the membership and online advertising services. The company was founded by Yanhong Li and Xu Yong on January 18, 2000 and is headquartered in Beijing, China. – CNN Money