Chinese internet giant Baidu lowered its full-year 2021 revenue growth forecast from the 8 per cent to 19 per cent previously predicted to a range between 2 per cent and 12 per cent, citing limited business visibility caused by the evolving impact of the Covid-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.
On a Q3 earnings call, CFO Rong Luo estimated sales of between CNY31 billion ($4.8 billion) and CNY34 billion, with core revenue expected to grow between 5 per cent and 16 per cent year-on-year.
The company fell from a CNY13.7 billion profit in Q3 2020 to a CNY16.6 billion loss due to a CNY18.9 billion fair-value loss on long-term investments.
Overall sales rose 13 per cent to CNY31.9 billion, with core revenue up 15 per cent to CNY24.7 billion as non-advertising proceeds grew 21 per cent to CNY5.2 billion.
AI cloud revenue grew 73 per cent to CNY3.8 billion, which Luo attributed to demand from customers across the media, financial services, energy, manufacturing and public sectors.
“With a diversified AI portfolio, including cloud services, smart transportation, smart devices, and self-driving, smart EVs, we are well positioned for long-term growth.”
Revenue from video streaming platform iQIYI rose 6 per cent to CNY7.6 billion.
Luo said monthly active users (MAUs) of the Baidu app improved 12 per cent to 608 million and daily logged-in users reached 79 per cent.
R&D expenses increased 35 per cent to CNY6.2 billion.
Co-founder and CEO Robin Li explained Baidu believes “being able to share content across apps provides better user experience”, when asked if the company had held talks with other internet businesses regarding opening up social network content to the search engine.
“We believe this will be a trend going forward”.
Luo noted a recent opening up of e-commerce platforms enabled users to more easily make transactions in the Baidu mobile ecosystem.Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back