Baidu beats quarterly revenue estimates on robust ad sales, AI By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A logo of Baidu is seen during the World Internet Conference (WIC) in Wuzhen, Zhejiang province, China, November 23, 2020. REUTERS/Aly Song

(Reuters) -China’s Baidu Inc (NASDAQ:) on Wednesday reported quarterly revenue above Wall Street estimates, helped by stronger advertising sales and demand for its artificial intelligence and cloud products.

A recovering domestic economy encouraged higher marketing spending, helping Baidu’s ad sales, even as it faces tough competition from e-commerce giant Alibaba (NYSE:) and ByteDance. Baidu’s foray into artificial intelligence (AI), cloud and autonomous driving has also helped its growth.

In a bid to expand its portfolio, the company last year introduced robotaxi vehicles and entered into a partnership with Chinese auto manufacturer Geely to develop electric vehicles, a fast-evolving sector where many tech companies are looking to make a mark.

“Baidu Core delivered another solid quarter, powered by our AI cloud revenue growing 73% year-over-year,” said Rong Luo, chief financial officer of Baidu.

The company’s results come amid a wide-ranging regulatory crackdown by China on its technology sector that includes heavyweights like Tencent and Alibaba in a bid to keep a check on their monopolistic practices.

Baidu said total revenue was 31.92 billion yuan ($5.00 billion) in the third quarter, slightly above analysts’ average estimate of 31.71 billion yuan, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

($1 = 6.3811 renminbi)

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