Chinese search engine Baidu says quarterly profit up 27 per cent as mobile business grows

BEIJING, China – Chinese search engine Baidu Inc. said Thursday its quarterly profit rose 27 per cent as user traffic for its mobile operation surpassed passed its desktop computer-based search business.

The Beijing-based company said it earned 3.9 billion yuan ($631.5 million), or 11 yuan ($1.79) per share. Revenue rose 52 per cent over a year earlier to 13.5 billion yuan ($2.2 billion).

“This quarter, mobile traffic surpassed PC traffic and mobile revenue contributed 36 per cent of our total revenue,” said chairman Robin Li in a statement.

Baidu and other Internet companies that flourished in the era of desktop computing are racing to roll out mobile services as Chinese users rapidly shift to going online using smartphones and tablet computers. Baidu dominates traditional Internet search but is a much smaller presence in mobile.

Baidu has spent more than $2.7 billion since the start of 2013 to expand its mobile offerings by acquiring video, group-buying and other services.

The company’s push into mobile was reflected in a 95 per cent increase in the latest quarter’s selling and administrative expenses, which the company said was due mainly to promotional spending for mobile products.

In the current quarter, the company said it expects total revenue in a range of 13.8 billion yuan ($2.2 billion) to 14.2 billion yuan ($2.3 billion), or an increase of 45.4 to 49.6 per cent.