Baidu Q3 Growth Fueled by Cloud & AI Units; Apollo Reaches New Heights
In pre-market, the stock of Baidu jumped 2% as the Chinese tech giant shone a light on its new developments.
Jennifer Chan
Jennifer Chan
Nov. 17, 2021 20:05
Baidu Q3 Growth Fueled by Cloud & AI Units; Apollo Reaches New Heights

(CapitalWatch, Nov. 17, New York) Tech giant Baidu Inc. (Nasdaq: BIDU; HKEX:9888) announced its third quarter results Wednesday, showing breakthrough developments in its AI cloud and autonomous driving businesses.

Revenue in the three months through September increased 13% year-over-year to nearly $5 billion, according to the report. That included 6% growth in online marketing and a 76% revenue surge in cloud and other AI-powered businesses. The number of monthly active users on the Baidu search engine app reached 607 million, up 12%.

Baidu said its Netflix-like entertainment platform iQiyi (Nasdaq: IQ) generated $1.2 billion in revenue, up 6% from a year ago. The business counted 104 million subscribers in September 2021.

Net loss, mainly attributable to Baidu Core, was $2.6 billion, or $7.48 per share, in the third quarter. However, non-GAAP net income was $790 million, with earnings per diluted American depositary share at $2.28.

During the third quarter, the company hosted its main annual event, the Baidu World 2021, where it unveiled its recent key developments. These included the second-generation 7nm Kunlun II AI chip for cloud, terminal, and edge applications; the revamped Baidu Brain 7.0; the robocar model, and the Luobo Kuaipao robotaxi mobile platform, as CW covered in-depth at the time.

Today, Baidu said its intelligent driving unit continues to pick up speed in the race to supply humanity with autonomous rides. Shanghai was recently added as the fifth city where Baidu's robotaxi service, Apollo Go, became fully open to public use. Now in Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Changsha, and Cangzhou, the number of rides has doubled sequentially, the report said.

Meanwhile, Baidu's Apollo L4 has surpassed 10 million miles in test mode and landed 411 autonomous driving permits as the unit continues to expand its geographic coverage and road scenarios. 

The company is also working with municipalities and providing smart-city cloud services and transportation infrastructure, as well as AI solutions in the industrial sector. "We are building Baidu Apollo smart transportation and intelligent driving to smoothen traffic congestion, accelerate the move to EV and reduce traffic accidents," Baidu's co-founder and CEO, Robin Li, said in the statement today.

In another highlight, Baidu has struck a collaboration with China Gas Holdings Ltd. (HKEX: 0384) on cloud and AI solutions in the gas and new energy markets. During the first stage of the partnership, worth $146.8 million, the two will collaborate on building customized applications including "smart monitoring, smart scheduling, gas usage prediction, and smart customer services," according to the announcement. In addition, the two companies will work together to improve industry standards and practices. 

Separately, this month, Baidu announced the start of a new top manager. Rong Luo, previously with leading education provider TAL Education (NYSE: TAL), has joined Baidu as its chief financial officer.

In the fourth quarter, Baidu expects to generate up to $5.3 billion in revenue, representing year-over-year increase of up to 12%.

Last month, CEO Li spoke at the Emerging Engineering International Forum 2021 at his alma mater university in Beijing. In his speech, Li explained how Baidu employs the engineering approach to the R&D of its automated technology.

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