Baidu, China's biggest internet search services provider, expects to gain more momentum from its mobile platform this year after the nascent business made up more than 10 per cent of the company's second-quarter revenue. In a conference call yesterday, Baidu chairman and chief executive Robin Li Yanhong said that more customers were seeing "the compelling opportunities inherent in Baidu's mobile channel", which had become "one of the most actively used mobile services in China". The Beijing-based company's confidence in its growing mobile-related business, which it started last year, was reflected in its strong third-quarter guidance. It expects to generate total revenue of 8.73 billion (HK$10.96 billion) to 8.96 billion yuan, representing 39.7 per cent to 43.3 per cent year-on-year growth. Ricky Lai, a research analyst at Guotai Junan International, forecast Baidu would meet that guidance and further grow its mobile-related business "because more and more users in China are accessing the internet on their smartphones and tablets". The mainland's online population swelled to 591 million by the end of last month, up 10 per cent year on year, according to data published earlier this month by the China Internet Network Information Centre. It found the total number of users accessing the internet via mobile devices reached 464 million, which represented a mobile internet penetration rate of 78.5 per cent. Baidu yesterday reported a 4.5 per cent decrease in second-quarter net profit to 2.64 billion yuan, from 2.77 billion yuan last year, due to the higher cost of product promotions. Revenue was up 39 per cent to 7.56 billion yuan, from 5.45 billion yuan a year ago. Monthly revenue per online marketing customer rose 4 per cent year on year to 16,100 yuan. The company added a record 58,000 active online marketing customers last quarter, driven by its mobile-related business, with total customers reaching 468,000. Li said the advantages offered by mobile search included better advertisement targeting, new forms of engaging users like click-to-call and click-to-chat, and higher click-through rates. "We expect further progress in the coming quarter as we push through technological improvements in areas like geo-targeting and click-through rate prediction," he said.