3 Companies Growing Faster Than Baidu Inc

Baidu is growing quickly, but these three Chinese Internet companies are growing even faster.

Rick Munarriz
Rick Munarriz
Feb 2, 2015 at 8:35AM
Technology and Telecom

Source: Baidu. 

Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU) has established itself as China's dot-com darling. A couple of years ago, the fast-growing search engine was held back by concerns that it wasn't doing enough to matter in mobile, and that a pesky upstart search engine would eat into its business.

Baidu bounced back. It went on an acquisition spree to make up for its mobile shortcomings, and it's been able to grow nicely while maintaining a comfortable lead over China's distant silver medalist in search.

Analysts see Baidu growing at a 41% clip in 2015. That's pretty good, but there are some Chinese Internet companies that Wall Street sees growing even faster. Let's check a few of them out.

Qihoo 360 (UNKNOWN:QIHU.DL): 47% revenue growth in 2015
This is the company that gave investors fits when it rolled out a homegrown search engine three summers ago. Qihoo 360 was able to gain traction quickly because it's the company behind China's most popular Internet browser and security software suite. 

There are a whopping 495 million monthly active users of Qihoo 360's PC-based products, penetrating 94% of the market. There's an even greater 673 million people accessing its primary mobile security product on smartphones. Qihoo 360 has turned this into explosive growth, with revenue doubling over the prior year in its latest reported quarter. 

The Qihoo 360 challenge is still in play for Baidu. Its market share in search has closed in on 30%. Unfortunately for Qihoo 360, it hasn't been as effective as Baidu in monetizing that traffic, and with Baidu and Qihoo 360 both posting healthy top-line spurts, it's safe to say that there can be two winners in this lucrative niche.

Autohome (NYSE:ATHM): 42% revenue growth in 2015
China's improving economy is putting more of the country's middle class behind the wheel, and that's been great for Autohome. The leading provider of car information for consumers has seen its usage spike considerably as potential auto buyers lean on Autohome for research.

Autohome generates roughly half of its revenue from automaker advertising services. The other half is its dealer yellow page business that includes dealer advertising and dealer subscription services. Business is growing nicely at the manufacturer end -- up 43% over the past year through the end of September -- but the real heady growth is taking place at the dealership level, where the number of dealer subscribers has soared 65% over the past year. 

Autohome has been putting the pedal to the metal in recent years. Top-line growth has been stellar and surprisingly steady. Revenue has soared between 66% and 71% in each of the past five years, according to S&P Capital IQ data. 

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The pace is expected to decelerate to just 42% in 2015, but that's still considered speeding on Wall Street, where stateside auto-related information providers are growing substantially slower. 

Vipshop (NYSE:VIPS): 67% revenue growth in 2015
Daily deals websites have turned out to be bad investments in the U.S., but it's a different story in China, where Vipshop has delivered explosive growth by offering up limited markdowns on branded apparel.

Vipshop went public three years ago at $6.50, though after a 10-for-1 stock split late last year, that starting line actually drops all the way down to $0.65. The key to this 30-bagger has been blowing through analyst profit targets and delivering jaw-dropping triple-digit top-line growth. It has exceeded Wall Street income estimates every single quarter as a public company, and it's only just now that sales growth has decelerated to the high double digits.