An employee comes out of the Baidu headquarters in Beijing. [Photo by Fan Jiashan/For China Daily]
Chinese internet search giant Baidu Inc reported Friday its total revenue reached 28.9 billion yuan ($4.15 billion) in the fourth quarter of 2019, up 6 percent year-on-year, while its net profit surged 95 percent year-on-year to 9.2 billion yuan.
"We finished 2019 making tremendous progress in strengthening Baidu's mobile ecosystem. Through the building blocks of Baijiahao publisher accounts, smart mini programs and managed pages, Baidu App provides users single log-on, native-app-like experiences with a wide range of information and services dispersed across isolated mobile apps and HTML5 websites," said Robin Li, chairman and CEO of Baidu.
According to Li, Baidu App's spanning mobile ecosystem has resulted in more users logging in, daily active users growing robustly to 195 million in December, up 21 percent year-on-year, and in-app search queries increasing almost 30 percent year-on-year. It has also built leadership in smart devices, smart transportation and enterprise cloud solutions with leading AI technology.
Moreover, the company's total revenue reached 107.4 billion yuan in 2019, an increase of 5 percent compared with the previous year.
"Baidu's quarterly operating margin has also been improving through the strengthening of the mobile ecosystem and our focus on resource investment returns. Our leaner financial model and strong balance sheet put us in a good position to weather the slowing macroeconomic situation, while continuing to invest heavily in technology and new businesses, to optimize future growth," said Herman Yu, CFO of Baidu.
According to an internal letter obtained by China Daily, which has been confirmed by Baidu, Li said for Baidu, the year 2019 is critical and full of change as it spent one year making deep adjustments in the aspects of organization and businesses.
Looking forward, the company will adhere to technological innovation and build the most powerful information and knowledge-centered mobile ecology this year, making greater breakthroughs in the revenue scale of new intelligent businesses, Li said. He also noted online entertainment, education and advertising will usher in new development opportunities due to the outbreak of the coronavirus.
The Beijing-based tech giant has devoted significant efforts to help contain the epidemic. On Baidu App, the company launched a free medical consultation platform, to provide online access to doctors, answer pneumonia-related questions and save hospital resources.
Baidu Maps is providing timely information, including the location of traffic control areas, designated hospitals and infected cases, to help users cope with the outbreak. By leveraging big data, it helps track population migration and predicts the spread of the epidemic in China.
It also leveraged its facial recognition and other AI technology to develop and deploy many fever-screening systems at railway stations, hospitals and municipal government buildings in China.