Baidu Rides Rebound in Ad Sales, Demand for AI and Cloud to Top Estimates in Quarterly Results

Baidu’s quarterly results topped Wall Street estimates on Thursday, as the Chinese search giant benefited from a rebound in advertising sales and higher demand for its artificial intelligence and cloud products.

The company also said Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Herman Yu has been appointed as its chief strategy officer, but will continue to serve as CFO until a successor is found.

Demand for the company’s rapidly growing autonomous driving service and artificial intelligence-powered cloud products, in which it has been investing heavily, has helped diversify revenue sources and offset competition from giants such as Alibaba and ByteDance in its core search segment.

Baidu spent about CNY 15.9 billion (roughly Rs. 18,220 crores) in the quarter to ramp up its products, a 21 percent increase compared with a year earlier.

Baidu’s streaming affiliate, iQIYI, posted a 15 percent increase in advertising revenue and subscribers grew to 106.2 million by June, on the back of more original content. Total revenue at iQIYI was up 3 percent at CNY 7.6 billion (roughly Rs. 8,710 crores) in the quarter.

The company’s adjusted profit of CNY 15.41 (roughly Rs. 180) per American Depository share (ADS) beat expectations.

Baidu is facing heightened scrutiny from Beijing’s regulators who have raised concerns on data security and user privacy, targeting the country’s tech giants.

© Thomson Reuters 2021 

Can Nothing Ear 1 — the first product from OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei’s new outfit — be an AirPods killer? We discussed this and more on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.