Thursday, January 27, 2011

Baidu, Inc. (NASDAQ: BIDU): Q4 Earnings Preview 2010

Baidu, Inc. (NASDAQ: BIDU) is scheduled to release its fourth-quarter financial results after the closing bell on Monday, January 31, 2011. Analysts, on average, expect the company to report earnings of 45 cent per share on revenue of $362.33 million. In the year ago quarter, the company reported earnings of 18 cents per share on revenue of $184.70 million.

Baidu, Inc. provides Chinese and Japanese language Internet search services. The Company conducts its operations in China principally through Baidu Online Network Technology (Beijing) Co., Ltd., its wholly owned subsidiary in Beijing, China. In the preceding third quarter, the Beijing, China-based company's net income was $156.4 million, or 45 cents per American depositary share, from a year ago. On an adjusted basis, the company earned 46 cents per ADS in the lates quarter. Revenue surged 76.4% to $337.2 million year ago. Analysts, on average, expected the company to report earnings of 41 cents per share on revenue of $333.26 million.

At its last earnings call in October, Baidu said that it expects to generate total revenues in an amount ranging from RMB2.370 billion ($354.2 million) to RMB2.440 billion ($364.7 million) for the fourth quarter of 2010, representing an 88% to 93.5% year-over-year increase.

The number of Internet users in China, already the world's largest online market, hit 457 million in 2010 -- up 19.1 percent from the previous year, according to  the figures released by the state-backed China Internet Network Information Center. More than 303 million people now use their mobile phone to surf the net, a jump of 29.6% on 2009, the group said. The value of the Chinese search market reached 3.85 billion yuan ($585 million) in the fourth quarter, nearly doubling from a year earlier, according to Beijing-based research firm Analysys International.

China still has vast untapped potential. According to China's Internet Information Centre, internet penetration in the country is still low, only 34% of total population.

Baidu has seen its market share increase steadily this year following Google's public spat with Beijing over censorship. The competitive landscape for Baidu has remained markedly positive despite the fact that Google has officially reentered the market. Their technologies seem to be outpacing their direct competitors and they have made some wise investments in social media.

Baidu further strengthened its dominance of the Chinese Internet market in the fourth quarter at the expense of US rival Google. Baidu's share of the increasingly lucrative sector hit 75.5 percent in the last three months of the year, compared with 73 percent in the third quarter, Beijing-based Analysys International said recently. Google saw its share of the Chinese search market, which is the world's largest, continue to slide, falling to 19.6 percent in the fourth quarter from 21.6 percent in previous period.

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