Baidu to step up marketing, investment

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 29 October, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 29 October, 2011, 12:00am


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Baidu, the mainland's top internet search services provider, will continue to bolster its investment and marketing strategies after reporting hefty gains in the third quarter.

'China's search industry is still in its early stages, and as the clear industry leader we see enormous room for continuing growth as users and online marketing customers become increasingly sophisticated,' chairman Robin Li Yanhong said.

Baidu said third-quarter net profit jumped 80 per cent from a year earlier to 1.88 billion yuan (HK$2.3 billion) on the back of strong customer spending and increased user traffic.

'In particular, spending by large customers significantly outperformed our expectations as we continued to build strong relationships with high-quality companies,' Li said.

Revenue soared 85 per cent to 4.18 billion yuan. Most of that income was generated from online advertisers.

Baidu had about 304,000 active online marketing customers in the quarter, up 11.8 per cent on the year. Average revenue per customer was about 13,700 yuan, up 65.1 per cent.

Market research firm Analysys International estimated Baidu's share in the mainland's desktop online search market rose to 78.2 per cent from 75.9 per cent in the previous quarter and 73 per cent a year earlier.

By comparison, Google continued to lose market share on the mainland, to 17.2 per cent from 18.9 per cent and 21.6 per cent, respectively.

Baidu, which is listed on the Nasdaq Stock Market in the United States, forecast fourth-quarter revenue of 4.41 billion yuan to 4.54 billion yuan, an increase of 80 to 85 per cent.

Jennifer Li Xinzhe, the company's chief financial officer, said most of its online marketing customers were from the medical and health care, education, machinery, travel and business services sectors.

She said the firm's marketing, research and infrastructure-development efforts would continue.