Baidu Earnings Reveal Massive Loss. Why Its Stock Is Rising.

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Baidu
,
the Chinese search-engine giant, reported a third-quarter loss of 16.6 billion yuan ($2.6 billion) after recording significant charges, but revenue jumped 13% and beat analysts’ estimates. 

U.S.-listed shares of Baidu (ticker: BIDU) rose 2.2% to $175.05 in premarket trading. The stock rose 0.5% in Hong Kong.

The loss in the latest third quarter included a non-cash loss in long-term investments of 18.9 billion yuan. 

In an email sent to Barron’s, Baidu said non-GAAP earnings attributable to the company, “which can better reflect Baidu’s healthy business operation,” were 5.1 billion yuan, or $790 million.

A year earlier, Baidu earned nearly 13.7 billion yuan. 

Revenue in the third quarter of 31.92 billion yuan topped analysts’ estimates of 31.52 billion. Baidu said revenue from its core operations rose 15% year over year to 24.7 billion yuan. 

“Baidu Core delivered another solid quarter, powered by our AI cloud revenue growing 73% year over year,” said Rong Luo, chief financial officer. “With a diversified AI portfolio, including cloud services, smart transportation, smart devices, self-driving, smart EV and robotaxi, we are well positioned for long-term growth.” 

Baidu said in its email that AI Cloud “continues to hold its firm position among the top four cloud providers in China, with revenue growth exceeding 70% for two consecutive quarters.”

For the fourth quarter, Baidu said it expects revenue of between 31 billion yuan and 34 billion yuan, representing growth rate of 2% to 12% year over year. The forecast, Baidu said, assumes that core revenue will grow between 5% and 16% from last year. 

Baidu cautioned in a press release Wednesday that the “Covid-19 situation in China is evolving and business visibility is limited.” 

Baidu shares traded in the U.S. have declined more than 20% in 2021. The stock has suffered, along with many of China’s tech companies over the past few months, on concerns about Beijing’s regulatory clampdown on the tech industry.

Write to Joe Woelfel at joseph.woelfel@barrons.com

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