While Chinese Internet search company Baidu Inc. (NASDAQ: BIDU) slipped in early trading, its competitors Sohu.com Inc. (NASDAQ: SOHU), SINA Corp. (NASDAQ: SINA) and Youku Tudou Inc. (NYSE: YOKU) all surged after the opening bell.
As we mentioned earlier this morning, Baidu has been a disappointment for investors. While sales and profits continue to ramp up impressively, Baidu shares have dropped to near a 52-week low. Over the past year, its shares are off more than 24%, while those of U.S.-based search company Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) are 30% higher over the same period.
Baidu has up to 80% of the Chinese search market, and it is said to be protected by the Chinese government, which has hampered Google’s efforts operate in the People’s Republic. Baidu’s revenue rose 60% in the second quarter to $859 million. Its operating profits rose 52% to $443 million.
And Baidu said it plans to diversify into other markets. Japan was supposed to the first of these, but so far there is little evidence of success there. Baidu does not have the capital to make necessary investments to expand beyond China.
Baidu is down more than 2% in morning trading to $107.11, in a 52-week range of $99.71 to $154.15. Sohu is up about 5% to $43.13, SINA up about 2% to $42.62 and Youku up more than 7% to $19.16. This morning, a Citigroup (NYSE: C) analyst named Yoku a top Internet pick.