Rival Google may be set to exit the market, but Baidu continues to mint profits from the China search business.
The Nasdaq-listed firm has reported a 48% higher net income for the fourth quarter of 427.9 million yuan ($62.7m). Sales rose 39.8%.to 1.261 billion yuan and the number of active marketing customers increased 13.2% to 223,000.
Chairman and CEO Robin Li attributed the “better than anticipated performance” to Phoenix Nest, the company’s new bidding rank technology, which was launched early last year after the previous system was found to be linking to ads for fake drugs.
Said CFO Jennifer Li: “With the transition to Phoenix Nest now behind us, we will focus on investing in both sales and marketing and R&D as we work on fulfilling user needs, enhancing monetization and driving the development of online marketing with our leading pay-for-performance platform.”
Over the full year Baidu boosted earnings 41.7% to 1.49 billion yuan on 39% higher sales of 4.45 billion yuan.
Its Nasdaq-listed stock price rose 8.88% to $473.65 in after-hours trading.
Separately, Google is reported to be part of a syndicate led by Walt Disney Co. bidding for China’s biggest in-bus digital media and advertising firm.
The consortium is in advanced talks to buy a 30%-40% stake of Bus Online for more than $100 million, Reuters reported.