Baidu Inc. (NASDAQ: BIDU) reported its earnings on Monday evening. The leader in Chinese Internet search’s third-quarter earnings came in with a 49% revenue gain to RMB6.251 billion (about $994.6 million), and operating profit in the third quarter rose by about 48% to RMB3.297 billion (about $524.6 million). Net income attributable to Baidu rose almost 60% to RMB3.008 billion, or about $478.6 million. That translated to earnings per ADS of $1.37 (EPS).
Thomson Reuters was calling for the equivalent of $1.28 EPS and $1.00 billion in sales for the third quarter.
While Baidu said that it is seeing good progress on mobile monetization, this progress is from a rather low base, and the CEO said that mobile monetization will involve an inevitable transition period.
Competition is now gaining from Qihoo 360 Technology Co. Ltd. (NYSE: QIHU). Baidu put its fourth-quarter sales growth at an implied rate of 37.6% to 41.8%, or to $979.3 million to $1.01 billion. Unfortunately, Thomson Reuters has estimates of $1.03 billion. Baidu is still expected to grow as it has that massive market share and the ever-growing Chinese Internet population.
Baidu’s close on Friday was at $113.84 and its 52-week range is $99.71 to $154.15. What is so hard to comprehend for many investors is that Baidu is still worth close to $40 billion, even after falling by about one-quarter from its peak.
JON C. OGG