Baidu Returns to Profit Growth Amid Search Engine’s Mobile Push

Baidu Has a Tremendous Opportunity Ahead: Guttman

Baidu Inc. returned to profit growth as an expansion in mobile services spurred record revenue at China’s largest Internet search provider.

Second-quarter net income climbed 3.3 percent to 3.66 billion yuan ($590 million), compared with the 3.9 billion yuan average of analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Sales climbed 38 percent, matching expectations.

Founder Robin Li is pushing a catalog of new products to engage smartphone users and attract more advertisers as traditional use of personal computers shifts to mobile platforms. Baidu is among rivals including Tencent Holdings Ltd. that are spending more to build mobile and online-to-offline, or 020, businesses, such as hardware, the Nuomi group-buying service and mobile wallets.

Revenue reached 16.6 billion yuan, compared with company’s April forecast of 16.365 billion yuan to 16.750 billion yuan. Mobile accounted for 50 percent of sales, in line with the prior quarter, it said.

Baidu is increasing its marketing budget to drive traffic during specific periods such as springtime travel and shopping seasons. It’s also spending more money to develop mobile products and on content for its IQiyi video service.

Baidu is said to be in talks to buy a new stake in the local unit of car-booking provider Uber Technologies Inc., adding to its investment in the company’s global operations. Baidu last month sold $1.25 billion of debt to fund Chinese operations and said it will invest 20 billion yuan over three years into group-buying site Nuomi.

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