July 25, 2011, 9:47 PM — China’s largest search engine Baidu posted strong earnings for the second quarter, driven by growing traffic and increased spending by advertising customers.
Net profits for the quarter ended June 30 were US$252.6 million, an increase of 95 percent from the same quarter last year.
Revenues were $528.4 million, up from 78.4 percent from the same period last year. The company previously forecast revenues reaching $493 million to $504 million.
It expects revenues in the current quarter to range between $611.1 million to $626.6 million, a year-on-year increase of up to 79.5 percent.
Baidu, a Chinese company founded in 2000, has a 76 percent share of Internet search engine revenues in China, according to Beijing-based research firm Analysys International. Google, which closed its China-based search engine last year after years of disputes with the country’s Internet censors, is a distant second with a 19 percent share, according to the estimates.
Baidu’s online marketing, which drives the company’s revenues, saw a boost in the second quarter from advertising paid by China’s group buying sites, according to company CEO Robin Li. The country now has more than 4,500 group buying sites, which operate like the U.S.’s Groupon and offer discounts to users.
Baidu has been busy in the past month announcing new partnerships. The company will now start paying three major record companies to offer licensed music downloads.
The company has declined to say how much it will pay the music companies. But on Tuesday, Baidu’s chief financial officer Jennifer Li said during an earnings call that the agreements to pay the music companies would not “significantly affect the cost picture” for the search giant.
The company also made a partnership with Microsoft to use its Bing search engine to power the English-language search results on Baidu. Starting last week, Baidu began displaying the Bing search results for English terms.
Baidu has also started offering downloads to a public beta of its new Internet browser. The company hopes to use it to further increase its search traffic, said Baidu CEO Robin Li during Tuesday’s earnings call.
Robin Li also said Baidu is working on a “number of mobile phone related services and systems,” but declined to offer details. He also reiterated that the company is looking to expand to overseas markets by launching a new platform that will offer multiple languages simultaneously. He declined to offer specifics.