UPDATE: Sorry everyone, I really messed up this report at the first go. Currency conversion was way off — billions should have been millions, something we realized within minutes of publishing. The post has been corrected.
Baidu, China’s leading web search company today issued its quarterly earnings report for the first three months of 2012. The company made $677 million in top-line revenue, up 75 percent from the revenue it posted in the first quarter of 2011. Baidu performed just as strongly at the bottom line as well, posting a net income of $299 million, up 75.9 percent year-over-year.
In case you need some context for that: Google reported revenues of $10.65 billion and net income of $2.89 billion for the first quarter of 2012; Facebook’s Q1 revenue was a bit over $1 billion.
And it doesn’t look like Baidu is exactly resting on its laurels as one of China’s reigning web kings. The company said it upped its spending on research and development by 85 percent year-over-year to $70 million during Q1, which it said was due mostly to an increase in headcount. As a comparison to its US-based peers — Google, for example, spent $1.4 billion on R&D last quarter, while Facebook spent $153 million.
Going forward, Baidu expects even bigger numbers. The company’s Q2 revenues are projected to be between $847 million and $867 million. That is of course a solid boost over Q1, but it would reflect a slight slowdown in year-over-year earnings growth to a projected 57 percent — something which apparently irked investors, who have pushed the stock down some 10 percent in after-hours trading as of this article’s writing. But in a statement, Baidu’s chairman and CEO Robin Li expressed a sense of confidence about Baidu’s future:
“China’s Internet landscape is evolving quickly and we are very excited about fast-emerging opportunities in areas such as mobile and cloud computing. We believe that Baidu is uniquely positioned to capture this immense growth potential in the Chinese online market.”