Search giant Baidu has reported its first-ever quarterly loss since going public in 2005.
Revenue rose 15 percent to 24.1 billion yuan, slightly below estimates for 24.3 billion yuan. Analysts polled by FactSet had expected adjusted earnings of 40 cents a share on sales $3.53 billion for the company.
Given the current macro conditions, tighter government scrutiny on content, cutbacks from the (venture capital) community, and so forth, we are taking a cautious view that online marketing in the near term will face a more challenging environment.
Baidu also said in its first quarter financial report that its board of directors had authorized a new share repurchase program, under which the company may repurchase up to United States dollars 1 billion of its shares, effective until July 1, 2020. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.
Baidu, headed by co-founder and CEO Robin Li, said that Hailong Xiang, its senior vice president for the search business, had resigned after 14 years with the company. The search giant expects that revenue in the June quarter will be 25.1 billion yuan to 26.6 billion yuan, nearly 14% under analyst estimates. "We will take this opportunity to improve our monetization capabilities and review our businesses for operational efficiency, while recognizing the importance to invest for sustainable long-term growth". His replacement Dou Shen previously served as vice president of mobile products.
With the ongoing "Google of China" reference, Baidu also has become much more hard to analyze. now that it has moved away from just being considered the leader of search in China.
At the end of March 2019, the company had 174 million daily active users, up 28% from the year-ago period. Baidu has a feed-content network with 2.1 million publishers, a 1.5 million out-of-home digital screen network in 362 cities across 31 provinces, a DuerOS voice assistant installed base of 275 million users, smart devices and is also into artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles and robotaxis.
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