© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: People stand by a sign of Baidu during World Artificial Intelligence Conference, following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Shanghai, China, September 1, 2022. REUTERS/Aly Song
(Reuters) -Baidu Inc’s third-quarter revenue beat Wall Street estimates on Tuesday, as China’s search engine giant benefited from a recovery in online advertising sales and growth in its cloud and artificial intelligence (AI) business.
Baidu (NASDAQ:), which generates most of its revenue from ads on its search engine, has seen a recovery since the second quarter, before which strict zero-COVID policies in China had led to frequent lockdowns that undermined economic activity.
Baidu’s revenue rose 2% to 32.54 billion yuan ($4.56 billion) in the three months to Sept. 30, beating the 31.79 billion yuan average estimate of 20 analysts, according to Refinitiv data.
Baidu Core’s non-online marketing revenue, an area including cloud and other AI businesses, grew by 25% year on year to 6.5 billion yuan.
The company has been focusing on self-driving technologies over the past five years, as it looks to diversify its revenue sources.
It started to charge fees for its robotaxi service Apollo Go on open roads from last year. Apollo Go operated more than 474,000 rides over the quarter and had accumulated a total of 1.4 million rides by end of the quarter.
The company’s operating income rose to 5.32 billion yuan from 2.31 billion yuan a year earlier.
Excluding items, it earned 16.87 yuan per American Depository Share (ADS).
Asked about the United States’ recent restrictions on exporting some chips to China, Baidu AI Cloud chief Shen Dou said during a conference call that the impact was limited in the near future as a large portion of Baidu’s AI businesses do not rely on highly advanced chips.
In the longer term, the company has also been developing its own AI chips, dubbed Kunlun, Shen added.
($1 = 7.1388 renminbi)