Baidu reports higher revenue on lower profit for fiscal 2016

The Chinese web company has announced revenue was up 6.3 percent year over year and operating profit down 13.9 percent for fiscal 2016, as well as some company board changes.
Written by Jonathan Chadwick, Contributor

Chinese internet giant Baidu has released its fiscal 2016 results, reporting operating profit of 10.04 billion yuan, a 13.9 percent decrease from the year prior, on revenue of 70.5 billion yuan, up 6.3 percent from fiscal 2015.

Mobile revenue represented 63 percent of total revenue in 2016, up from 2015's 53 percent, while online marketing revenues for the year reached 64.5 billion yuan, a 0.8 percent increase from 2015.

Earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) in fiscal 2016 was 15.8 billion yuan, down 5.2 percent from 2015, while operating cashflow stood at 22.2 billion yuan.

In its full year and fourth quarter results, Baidu chair and CEO Robin Li said that the company is well-positioned to lead China's growth in artificial intelligence (AI), based on its technology, data, and talent pool.

"Our existing platform, including our search and newsfeed products, are enhanced by AI and enriched by our content and services ecosystem," Li said. "We are thrilled by the opportunities that our existing platform has opened up and are excited to build the next generation of AI-enabled businesses."

During the year, Baidu received 3.79 billion yuan which was comprised mainly of an investment gain that was the result of exchanging Uber China shares with Didi.

Mobile search monthly active users (MAUs) was 665 million for the month of December 2016, a 2 percent increase year on year, while mobile maps MAUs hit 341 million for the month, a 13 percent year on year increase. Baidu Wallet, the company's mobile payment solution, had 100 million activated accounts by the end of December, representing an 88 percent increase over the same corresponding period a year prior.

Baidu also announced changes to its company board, which will be effective from Sunday. Qi Lu -- who joined the company last month as group president and COO -- was appointed as director and vice chairman of the board of directors.

Yuanqing Yang was made member of both the audit committee and member of corporate governance and nominating committee of the board of directors; while board member Greg Penner will also step down from the board and all committees, the company said.

Li previously said that going forward the company will push initiatives such as its digital assistant Duer and autonomous cars, as well as bring new AI-based applications to market.

Baidu announced a partnership with GPU giant Nvidia last September to develop a cloud-based platform for use in artificially intelligent, self-driving cars.

Baidu announced an operating profit of 2.787 billion yuan, up 11 percent year on year for Q3, reporting total revenue of 18.253 billion yuan.

For the first quarter of the 2017 fiscal year, Baidu expects total revenue of between 16.4 billion and 17 billion yuan.

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