Fourth-quarter profits at Baidu.com more than tripled, according to a report from the Associated Press. Baidu operates China's leading search engine, and has been described as the Google of China.
The company's profit increased to $175.9 million for the fourth quarter.
During the quarter, Baidu earned 52 cents a share. Analysts had projected the company earning 47 cents per share during the quarter, the AP reported, citing analysts’ data.
"This has been another quarter of outstanding performance for Baidu, with market momentum and our continued improvement in monetization fuelling top line growth," Robin Li, Baidu's chairman and CEO, said in a company press release.
Quarterly revenue increased to 2.45 billion yuan (U.S. $371.3 million) from 1.26 billion yuan. Analysts had previously projected revenue increases of $350.3 million.
For 2010, Baidu earned 3.53 billion yuan (U.S. $534.1 million). That compares with a profit of 1.49 billion yuan in 2009. Company revenue increased to 7.92 billion yuan (U.S.$1.2 billion) from 4.45 billion yuan in 2009.
During the first quarter of 2011, Baidu projects revenue between $360.6 million and $371.2 million.
"Baidu continues to build upon our clear leadership in China's search market," Li added. "Looking forward we will further integrate search with online activities such as e-commerce and social networking and I am confident that Baidu will remain at the center of China's Internet ecosystem."
"I am pleased to report another quarter of stellar top- and bottom-line growth," Jennifer Li, Baidu's chief financial officer, added in a statement. "I'm also excited to note that in 2010 we enjoyed accelerating top-line growth and record profitability despite substantial investment. As we remain focused on developing the market and driving top-line growth, we will continue to aggressively invest in R&D, sales, marketing and network infrastructure."
As of September, 73 percent of China’s Web searches used Baidu. The AP says that by comparison Google was used for 22 percent of Web searches in China.
In other recent company news, TechZone360 reported that Baidu would introduce a flash game platform.
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