Baidu, Inc. (BIDU)

Q3 2010 Earnings Call

January 27, 2011 8:00 PM ET

Executives

Victor Tseng – Investor Relations Director

Robin Li – Chief Executive Officer

Jennifer Li – Chief Financial Officer

Analysts

Dick Wei – JP Morgan

Jiong Shao – Macquarie Securities

Catherine Leung – Goldman Sachs

Jin Yoon – Nomura

Eddie Leung – Merrill Lynch

Paul Wuh – Samsung Securities

Richard Ji – from Morgan Stanley

Gene Munster – Piper Jaffray

Ming Zhao – SIG

Alex Yao – Deutsche Bank

Alicia Yap – Barclays Capital

Wallace Cheung – Credit Suisse

Jenny Wu – Citi

Cynthia Meng – Jefferies

Andy Yeung – Oppenheimer

Gary Ngan – UBS

Muzhi Li – Mizuho Securities

Mayuresh Masurekar – Collins Stewart

Wendy Huang – RBS

Presentation

Operator

Hello. And thank you for standing by for Baidu’s Third Quarter 2011 Earnings Conference Call. At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. After management’s prepared remarks, there will be a question-and-answer session. Today’s conference is being recorded. (Operator Instructions)

I would now like to turn the meeting over to your host for today’s conference, Victor Tseng, Baidu’s Investor Relations Director.

Victor Tseng

Hello, everyone. And welcome to Baidu’s third quarter 2011 earnings conference call. We distributed Baidu’s third quarter 2011 earnings release earlier today. You can find a copy of the press release on the company’s IR website, as well as on newswire services.

Today, you will hear from Robin Li, Baidu’s Chief Executive Officer; and Jennifer Li, Baidu’s Chief Financial Officer. After their prepared remarks, Robin and Jennifer will answer your questions.

Before we proceed, please note that the discussion today will contain forward-looking statements made under the Safe Harbor provisions of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially from our current expectations.

Potential risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to those outlined in our public filings with the SEC, including our annual report on Form 20-F. Baidu does not undertake any obligation to update any forward-looking statement except as required under applicable law.

Our earnings press release and this call include discussions of certain unaudited non-GAAP financial measures. Our press release contains a reconciliation of the unaudited non-GAAP measure to the unaudited most directly comparable GAAP measures and is available on our IR website at ir.baidu.com.

As a reminder, this conference is being recorded. In addition, a webcast of this conference call will be available on Baidu’s corporate website.

I will now turn the call over to Baidu’s CEO, Robin Li.

Robin Li

Hello, everyone, and welcome to today’s call. I’ll start today by reviewing our results for the third quarter and taking a lot as a key trend and growth drivers. Then, I’ll talk about the exciting new initiatives we launched recently. And finally, I’ll update you on our strategic investment projects.

Looking first at our results, that being another stellar quarter for Baidu. This revenue is accelerating 85% year-on-year. In particular, we see three main factors underpinning robust revenue growth in Q3. First, traffic growth maintained its strong momentum in the quarter.

Second, we made solid progress on monetization. ARPU growth was at a record high of more than 65% year-on-year. This was largely driven by the enhancement to our Phoenix Nest platform. For example, we introduced a new keyword matching option called advanced [quick] match. This is more focused than the traditional broad match, but offers more flexibility and higher coverage than the exact match.

So, it better captures user intent and improves clickthrough rate -- improved clickthrough quality. And we are seeing very encouraging adoption rate so far. And there are few many other levers in Phoenix Nest that we can pull out to drive further monetization efficiency.

The third factor influencing our strong revenue growth was increasing spending by our large accounts, which has been a priority for Baidu.

One fourth of strong revenue growth was once again the e-commerce sector, in particular the revenues contributed by the online retail sector retained impressive momentum, growing over 100% year-over-year. Separately, classified information website spending also maintained a strong upward trend, increasing by over 50% quarter-on-quarter.

So you can see that because of our central position in China’s internet ecosystem we can always benefit enormously from emerging growth area. While it is difficult to predict the future of any single industry category, the overall online marketing spending trajectory for our large account remained very positive.

Another area of strong revenue growth was in customers from more traditional industries. We benefited as these customers transitioned from offline to online marketing. The auto industry is a good example of this emerging trend. This established offline businesses increasingly recognize the value of Baidu’s online marketing platform and are allocating larger percentages of their amortizing budget to us. Meanwhile, our top verticals continue to grow healthily as well and remain an important part of Baidu’s revenue makeup.

In Q3, we continue to optimize our sales process. The goal is to ensure customer quality and improve sales efficiency for small and medium-sized customers. Complementing this pushed, we have deepened our commitment to creating a better cleaner internet ecosystem. Under the banner of Operation Sunshine, Baidu has forced alliances its major stakeholders including government ministries and HSD industry associations and the media. Operation Sunshine is part of a long-term effort of which the Chinese government has been very supportive.

Let’s now move on to talk about some of our new initiatives. Baidu’s new personalized homepage feature online in the beginning of September. The personalized homepage represents the next step in the evolution of Baidu. From simple web search to open data, to open applications and now to personalized and direct fees that instantly meet users need. This new feature give users who are sign in Baidu, a more personalized experience based on their historical search behavior.

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