Search engine Baidu’s Q1 profit jumps 165 percent

Baidu Inc., which operates China’s most popular Internet search engine, said Thursday its first-quarter profit jumped 165 percent on a rise in revenue and numbers of advertising customers.

Net income in the three months to March 31 rose to $70.4 million, or $2.02 a share, the Beijing-based company said. Revenue grew 60 percent to $189.6 million.

Both exceeded the expectation in a Thomson Reuters poll of analysts, which forecast earnings of $1.50 per share on revenue of $180 million.

Baidu got a big boost in China last month after Google Inc. shut its mainland-based search engine to move to the Chinese territory of Hong Kong. Google said it no longer wanted to comply with the communist government’s requirement to censor search results.

Baidu said it had about 221,000 active online marketing customers, up nearly 20 percent from a year earlier but down 1 percent from the previous quarter.

Revenue per online marketing customer rose 34 percent from a year earlier to $864. That figure was up 3.5 percent from the previous quarter.

For the second quarter, Baidu said it expects revenue to rise 67 percent to 70 percent to between $268 million and $274 million.

Baidu’s American depositary shares rose $88.61, or 14.3 percent, to $709.99 in after-hours trading on Wednesday, after climbing $1.27 to close at $621.38 in the regular session.

The company also announced a 10-for-1 split for its American depositary shares that will be reflected in share prices as of May 12. The ordinary shares are not changing.

Associated Press