China-based search engine Baidu reported robust profit and revenue growth in Q1, with mobile now accounting for more than three-quarters of total revenue.
In an earnings statement, Baidu chairman and CEO Robin Li said the company continued “to execute on our strategy to strengthen Baidu’s mobile foundation and lead in [artificial intelligence] AI.”
The company’s DuerOS AI play showed “accelerated momentum with hardware parntners”, while its Apollo autonomous vehicle system “has a great potential to become a world-class technology platform,” he added.
Baidu recently received the first licences to conduct open road tests for autonomous vehicles in Beijing and Chongqing municipalities and Fujian province.
Herman Yu, Baidu CFO, said: “We have never been more focused than we have in the past year, by scaling down or exiting non-core businesses and doubling down on investments in AI-powered businesses to generate significant long-term return to our shareholders.”
Net profit for Q1 2018 climbed 277 per cent year-on-year to CNY6.7 billion ($1.1 billion). The figure was boosted by other net income, which the company stated “mainly consisted of fair value gains of private company investments” in accordance with a newly adopted accounting standard.
Revenue rose 31 per cent during the quarter to CNY20.9 billion, with mobile turnover representing 78 per cent of the total compared with 70 per cent in Q1 2017. Online marketing revenue increased 23 per cent to CNY17.2 billion.
Its online entertainment subsidiary, iQIYI, which raised $2.27 billion through an IPO on Nasdaq in late March, reported a 57 per cent increase in revenue in Q1 to CNY4.9 billion.
Baidu plans to sell a majority equity stake in its financial service business.
For Q2 Baidu expects revenue to increase by 26 per cent to 33 per cent year-on-year to between CNY24.9 billion and CNY26.2 billion.