Baidu’s Q4 2022 profit grew year-on-year, with the company predicting revenue growth this year as China’s economy continues to recover from Covid-19 (coronavirus) lockdowns.

CEO Robin Li noted in an earnings call there remained challenges in Q4 due to rising Covid-19 (coronavirus) cases and the impact on the broader economy, but highlighted profit margin gains.

Li predicted the recovery trend to continue, boosting Baidu’s online marketing revenue through increased demand.

He said mobile traffic remained strong, with total mobile search queries and feeds through the Baidu app registering double-digit growth.

“Despite revenue declining in Q4, our mobile ecosystem continued to generate high operating profit. Encouragingly, we have seen a recovery in our online marketing revenues after the Chinese New Year holiday.”

CFO Rong Luo noted initiatives to cut costs and improve efficiency at an early stage in the pandemic created “a stronger, leaner company”.

“We believe a more streamlined operation will support the sustainable development of our company over the long term.”

Net profit attributable to Baidu grew 189 per cent year-on-year to CNY5 billion ($724.7 million), with revenue flat at CNY33 billion.

Online advertising revenue fell 6 per cent to CNY18.1 billion with offline revenue up 11 per cent to CNY7.6 billion.

Monthly active users (MAUs) of the Baidu app increased 4 per cent to 648 million.

Revenue at its video streaming platform iQIYI rose 3 per cent to CNY7.6 billion on a 15 per cent increase in average daily subscribing members to 111.6 million.