Baidu beats estimates on strong growth in marketing business

FILE PHOTO – A Baidu sign is seen during the fourth World Internet Conference in Wuzhen, Zhejiang province, China, December 4, 2017. REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo

(Reuters) – Chinese search engine operator Baidu Inc beat Wall Street estimates for fourth quarter revenue and profit on Thursday, aided by strong growth in its online marketing business.

Revenue for the segment rose nearly 4 percent to 21.2 billion yuan ($3.15 billion) in the quarter ended Dec. 31.

The company’s U.S.-listed shares were up nearly 3 percent to $176.75 in extended trading.

Baidu forecast first quarter revenue between 23.5 billion yuan and 24.7 billion yuan, while analysts had expected 24 billion yuan, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

The company in October had forecast fourth-quarter sales below analyst estimates, citing policy changes and the trade war.

Total revenue rose about 15 percent to 27.2 billion yuan, beating estimates of an 11.4 percent rise.

Net income attributable to the company fell to 2.08 billion yuan ($309.55 million) in the quarter, from 4.16 billion yuan a year earlier.

Excluding items, the company earned 13.18 yuan per American depositary share, beating estimates of 11.83 yuan per ADS.

Reporting by Cate Cadell in Beijing; Additional reporting by Akanksha Rana in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli

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