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Cloud Services Boost Baidu’s Revenue but Cast Shadow Over its Profits


Chinese search giant Baidu reported a 5% year-on-year revenue increase in last year’s fourth quarter, as advertising sales recovered and demand for its cloud services grew, according to the company’s latest earnings report released on Wednesday.

Total revenue for the quarter amounted to 30.3 billion yuan ($4.6 billion), compared with 28.9 billion yuan a year ago. Online marketing revenue from Baidu’s core search business was 18.9 billion yuan, basically flat from the same period of 2019. Revenue from its non-search businesses jumped 52% year-on-year to 4.2 billion yuan, driven by sales of cloud and other services, the report said.

However, Baidu’s registered net income of 5.2 billion yuan for the quarter was down 18% year-on-year.

The company’s Nasdaq-listed shares, which gained more than 70% in 2020, rose 3.57% to $319.70 in after-market trading on Wednesday after the report’s release.

Baidu’s video streaming unit iQiyi posted a 1% year-on-year revenue decline in the quarter to 7.5 billion yuan. Its subscribers fell by 3.1 million to 101.7 million by the end of December, when compared with the end of the third quarter.

Beijing-based Baidu said that it expects current-quarter revenue to be between 26 billion yuan and 28.5 billion yuan, representing a year-on-year increase of 15% to 26%.

The financial results come as Baidu has poured massive resources into businesses related to autonomous driving, intelligent transportation technology and livestreaming in an attempt to diversify its revenue streams.

CEO Robin Li said that Baidu will “seize the huge market opportunities in cloud services, autonomous driving, smart transportation and other AI opportunities” to lessen dependence on online marketing services.

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Contact reporter Ding Yi (yiding@caixin.com)

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