Baidu reports better-than-expected financial results amid focus on AI
Published: Feb 29, 2024 01:14 AM
Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

Chinese tech giant Baidu Inc on Wednesday reported better-than-expected financial results for the 2023 fiscal year, with a rise in total revenue and non-GAAP (generally accepted accounting principles) net income.

For the 2023 fiscal year, Baidu generated total revenue of 134.6 billion yuan ($18.96 billion), an increase of 9 percent year-on-year, and non-GAAP net income totaled 28.7 billion yuan ($4.04 billion), up 39 percent year-on-year.

Both revenue and non-GAAP net income beat market expectations, according to the Securities Times.

For the final quarter of 2023, Baidu generated revenue of about 35 billion yuan, up 6 percent year-on-year. Non-GAAP net income during the period reached about 7.76 billion yuan, representing a year-on-year increase of 44 percent.

The company said ERNIE, Baidu's generative artificial intelligence (Gen-AI) product, has already started to contribute to Baidu's revenues. In 2024, incremental revenue will increase to billions of yuan, mainly from AI applications and a growing advertising business.

The remarks came after figures showed that AI has become a new growth driver for Baidu. Baidu AI Cloud's total revenue in the fourth quarter was 8.4 billion yuan, and AI large language models brought in approximately 660 million yuan in incremental revenue to the cloud business, Robin Li Yanhong, co-founder and CEO of Baidu, said during a conference call on Wednesday.

According to Li, the company has made great strides in advancing ERNIE and ERNIE Bot, reinventing its products and services, and achieving breakthroughs in monetization. "Meanwhile, our core business has maintained its resilience and realized a healthy growth momentum," he said.

"Looking ahead, our commitment to generative AI and foundation models remains unwavering, paving the way for the gradual creation of a new growth engine," said Li.

Baidu Core also reported another solid quarter, with revenue growing 7 percent year-on-year to 27.5 billion yuan, boosted by the AI cloud business. Online marketing revenue reached 19.2 billion, up 6 percent year-on-year.

After the financial results were released, Morgan Stanley called Baidu the "best AI player in China," saying the company's generative AI will become a mid-term growth driver. China Merchants Bank predicted that the operating margin of its cloud business could continue to expand in 2024.

Global Times