Chinese search giant Baidu reports flat profit growth but large growth in revenue

China’s leading search engine, Baidu, reported flat profit growth for the fourth quarter as the company continued its spending spree on research and product promotion. For the period ended on December 31, Baidu’s net profit was 2.8 billion yuan (US$454 million), representing a 0.4 percent year-over-year decrease. Revenues, however, met the high end of the company’s projections for the quarter, reaching 9.5 billion yuan, rising by 50 percent year over year.

Baidu Inc. BIDU +1.62% posted a slight fourth-quarter profit drop and warned investors its profit won’t grow this year either, as the Chinese search giant boosts efforts to capture more of the country’s surging mobile market. The Beijing-based company said it expects revenue growth to continue to accelerate but that spending would limit profits. The warning comes as China’s largest Internet companies acquire and invest in smaller rivals they think will help them appeal to China’s more than 500 million smartphone users. Fourth-quarter revenue beat expectations, and Baidu also forecast better-than-expected revenue for the first quarter, saying it expects 9.24 billion yuan ($1.53 billion) to 9.52 billion yuan ($1.57 billion), well above analysts’ estimates.

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