Baidu's Q4 revenue up on gains for Netflix-like service

BEIJING • Chinese search engine operator Baidu beat market estimates for fourth-quarter revenue and profit on Thursday, as its core online marketing business stayed resilient and revenue surged for its Netflix-like streaming service iQiyi.

The online marketing business - which includes search, news feeds and a video app, and accounts for more than three-quarters of the company's revenue - grew 10 per cent to 21.2 billion yuan (S$4.3 billion) in the quarter ended Dec 31.

Revenue from iQiyi jumped 55 per cent to seven billion yuan.

iQiyi, which gained 36.6 million subscribers last year, counts Alibaba Group's Youku among its rivals.

But content costs, mostly for iQiyi, nearly doubled to 7.3 billion yuan.

Baidu's US-listed shares rose 3 per cent in extended trading.

Total revenue rose 22 per cent to 27.2 billion yuan, beating estimates of 26.3 billion yuan, according to I/B/E/S estimates from Refinitiv.

 

Although the results exceeded expectations, Baidu's online advertising business is showing signs of pressure amid a wider slowdown in China's tech industry.

Online marketing revenue for the quarter rose 10 per cent, but spending per customer also slipped 4 per cent.

Net income attributable to the company fell to 2.08 billion yuan during the quarter, compared with 4.16 billion yuan a year earlier.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 23, 2019, with the headline 'Baidu's Q4 revenue up on gains for Netflix-like service'. Print Edition | Subscribe