What: Shares of Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU) closed up nearly 11% Friday after the Chinese Internet search leader released solid third-quarter 2015 results.
So what: Quarterly revenue rose 36% year over year to 18.383 billion Chinese Yuan Renminbi (RMB), or $2.892 billion, which was roughly inline with analysts' consensus estimates. Driving growth was a 31.7% increase in online marketing revenue to RMB 7.680 billion ($2.782 billion), and a nearly seven-fold increase in "Other services" revenue to RMB 702.7 million ($110.9 million). Mobile revenue comprised around 54% of Baidu's total revenue, up from 37% in the same year-ago period.
Next, net income attributable to Baidu fell 26.7% year over year, to RMB 2.841 billion ($447 million), and net income per diluted American depositary share dropped 28%, to RMB 7.92 ($1.25). However, analysts were only expecting Baidu to report net income of RMB 7.17 ($1.13) per ADS.
Baidu CEO Robin Li spoke to Baidu's sources of strength, first noting mobile traffic comprised nearly two-thirds of Baidu's total. "We further extended the reach of our platform by deeply integrating and connecting search and maps with transaction services," Li went on. "We have made great momentum in O2O and seen strong progress in transaction services for Baidu."
Baidu CFO Jennifer Li discussed the company's plans to continue investing heavily to bolster growth:
We delivered another solid quarter, with mobile growing its contribution. The momentum in transaction services gives us the confidence to continue investing. We will invest in ways that leverage and buttress our competitive advantage.
Now what: For the current quarter, Baidu anticipates revenue of RMB 18.200 billion ($2.864 billion) to RMB 18.750 billion ($2.950 billion), good for growth of 29.5% to 33.4% over last year's fourth quarter.
Here, keep in mind Baidu's guidance will no longer consolidate financials after Oct. 26, 2015, for online travel specialist Qunar Cayman Islands (NASDAQ:QUNR). That's when Baidu announced the strategic exchange of shares comprising a 45% voting interest in Qunar, for shares representing a 25% voting interest in fellow Chinese travel site Ctrip (NASDAQ:CTRP). Baidu also pledged to continue cooperating with both companies.
In the end, this was indeed a solid report from Baidu demonstrating encouraging progress in key growth areas. And though Baidu's investments to capture this growth and take market share may weigh on the bottom line for now, I think investors are right to celebrate the company's long-term approach to generating shareholder value.