Baidu posts third-quarter profit just shy of 3b yuan

The Chinese version of Google has reported an 11 percent year-on-year profit increase to 2.787 billion yuan for the third quarter.
Written by Asha Barbaschow, Contributor

Baidu has released its third-quarter financial results, announcing an operating profit of 2.787 billion yuan, up 11 percent year on year.

The Chinese search engine giant reported total revenue of 18.253 billion yuan for the third quarter of 2016, with online marketing revenues decreasing by 6.7 percent over last year to come in at 16.49 billion yuan.

"We saw further improvements in customer quality in the third quarter as we continued to implement stricter standards for online marketers," Robin Li, Baidu chairman and CEO, said.

"During the quarter, the growing popularity of our news feed product helped drive user stickiness in search and across the Baidu content ecosystem. We look forward to further innovating through initiatives such as our digital assistant Duer and autonomous cars, and to bringing new AI-based applications to market."

Previously, Li said that Duer was based on the company's existing ecosystem that already covers many sectors, such as dining, film, tourism, education, and healthcare, and that the company's ability to collect and process data, as well as its intelligent learning at the back end, allows it to categorise information and put a label on various aspects of certain businesses that Duer can then leverage.

It was also reported previously that Baidu would explore the possibility of developing Duer into a physical robot in the future.

Last month, Baidu teamed up with GPU giant Nvidia to develop a cloud-based platform for use in artificially intelligent, self-driving cars.

The partnership combines Nvidia's self-driving computing platform with Baidu's cloud and mapping technology to develop an algorithm-based operating system capable of powering complex navigation systems in autonomous vehicles.

Baidu kicked off a support and mentoring scheme for Brazilian tech startups in September that will be run in partnership with the Latin American Angels Society (LAAS). Baidu will take a 10 percent stake in the capital of the companies selected in the program in exchange for the support and mentoring.

The Chinese firm is looking to expand its presence in Latin America as part of a strategy to invest in developing markets. Baidu believes that over 43 million Brazilians will be online within the next three years and has the country as one of its priority markets for growth.

In the three months to September 30, 2016, Baidu spent 2.614 billion yuan on research and development.

"We continue to enhance user experience by taking proactive measures to raise customer quality and foster a healthier industry environment," Jennifer Li, CFO of Baidu, told shareholders on Friday.

"Looking ahead, we will maintain this focus on delivering the best user experience, while investing in technology and infrastructure to drive long-term growth."

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