China search giant reports 57.5 per cent rise in full year profit

SHANGHAI (AFP) - China's leading Internet search engine Baidu said its net profit for last year grew 57.5 per cent despite a growth slowdown in the world's second largest economy.

Baidu is the dominant search engine in China, holding 79 per cent of the total market in the fourth quarter last year, according to Beijing-based Internet consultancy Analysys International.

The company has benefited from US search giant Google's decision to partially move out of the massive Chinese market in 2010 after a public spat with Beijing over censorship.

Baidu's profits reached US$1.68 billion (S$2.1 billion) last year, but profit growth slowed from 88.3 per cent in 2011, Baidu said in a statement released late on Monday.

Revenue jumped 53.8 per cent to US$3.58 billion, it added.

"Baidu once again posted solid growth in 2012 amidst challenging macro conditions," company chairman and chief executive officer Robin Li said in the statement.

Baidu's net profit for the fourth quarter of last year rose 36.1 per cent year-on-year to US$448.7 million, while revenue for the three months jumped 41.6 per cent from the same period in 2011 to $1.02 billion.

The company said last September that it plans to invest more than 10 billion yuan (S$2 billion) in cloud computing to help profitability.

Baidu fell 1.30 per cent to US$108.61 on the US Nasdaq market on Monday.

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