Baidu revenue tops estimates on ad sales rebound

A logo of Baidu is seen during the World Internet Conference (WIC) in Wuzhen, Zhejiang province, China, November 23, 2020. REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo

Aug 12 (Reuters) – Baidu Inc’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 15.9 billion yuan in the quarter to ramp up its products, a 21% increase compared with a year earlier.

Baidu’s streaming affiliate, iQIYI, posted a 15% 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% at 7.6 billion yuan in the quarter.

The company, also known as China’s Google, said total revenue rose to 31.35 billion yuan ($4.84 billion) from 26.03 billion yuan in the second quarter ended June 30, topping analysts’ average estimate of 30.96 billion yuan, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

The company’s adjusted profit of 15.41 yuan per American Depository share (ADS) beat expectations of 13.05 yuan per ADS.

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.

($1 = 6.4756 Chinese yuan renminbi)

Reporting by Eva Mathews in Bengaluru; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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