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Baidu’s Q4 Results Beat on Earnings, Fall Just Short on Revenues; Shares Rise

The Chinese tech giant has managed to recover from the worst of the COVID-19 impacts on its businesses.
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Shares of Chinese search and AI giant Baidu  (BIDU) - Get Baidu Inc. Report rose after-hours on Wednesday after beating analyst earnings estimates and falling just shy of consensus revenue estimates for the fourth quarter.

After the close, Baidu reported adjusted earnings of $3.08 per share versus analyst estimates of $2.79 per share, and revenues of $4.6 billion versus analyst estimates of $4.7 billion, according to FactSet.

After declining more than 5% during regular trading hours on Wednesday, Baidu shares were rising 2.1% to $315.17 after-hours.

Baidu also gave guidance for the current quarter ahead of analyst estimates, saying it expected revenue to be between $4.0 billion and $4.4 billion, representing a growth rate of 15% to 26% year-over-year. At the midpoint of $4.2 billion, that figure exceeded analyst estimates for $4.0 billion in revenue.

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Baidu noted this guidance does not include potential contribution from its acquisition of live streaming app YY Live that was announced last November and is expected to close in the first half of 2021. The guidance also assumes that Baidu Core revenue will grow between 26% an 39% year over year.

Total revenues for 2020 came in at $16.4 billion, basically flat from the previous year. 

Baidu shares have managed to recover significantly from their lows under $100 in mid-March when the COVID-19 pandemic forced many of their search engine ad customers to cut back on spending. Year-to-date, shares up almost 47%.

"Baidu ended 2020 on a solid note with our business benefiting from improving macroeconomic environment and the digitalization of industrial Internet. Our focus on innovation through technology is paying off with Baidu Core non-marketing revenue growing 52% year over year in the fourth quarter," said Robin Li, Co-founder and CEO of Baidu. "As we enter 2021, Baidu is well positioned as a leading AI company with strong Internet foundation to seize the huge market opportunities in cloud services, autonomous driving, smart transportation, and other AI opportunities."

In January, Baidu announced it was partnering with Chinese car company Zhejiang Geely Holding Group to produce smart electric vehicles. Baidu's Apollo self-driving technology is a big focus of the company.