Please don’t ask about valuation for Baidu (BIDU) – it’s rich, always has been. Technically the stock seems stuck here between $66 and $78. The longer it is stuck, the bigger the move should be once it leaves this range.
Last night’s earnings (full report here)
Baidu Inc., which operates China’s biggest Internet search engine, said Wednesday that its second-quarter profit more than doubled as its advertising customer base grew and profit margins improved. The company earned 837.4 million yuan ($123.5 million), or 2.40 yuan (35 cents) per American Depositary share, up from 383.3 million yuan, or 1.10 yuan per share, in the same period a year earlier. Excluding stock options expenses, Baidu earned 36 cents per share.
Revenue rose 74 percent to 1.91 billion yuan ($282.3 million).
The company had about 254,000 active online marketing customers during the quarter, up 25 percent from a year earlier.
Traffic acquisition cost (TAC) as a component of cost of revenues was RMB185.6 million ($27.4 million), representing 9.7% of total revenues, as compared to 16.0% in the corresponding period in 2009 and 13.2% in the first quarter of 2010. The decrease in TAC as a percentage of total revenues is primarily due to the quality improvement of Baidu Union traffic. (big positive)
Baidu’s boost in advertisers and ad spending is probably coming in part at the expense of Google, which at the start of the year threatened to exit the market over the government’s censorship policy. For months, Google automatically redirected China users to its uncensored Hong Kong site. Now, in an uneasy truce, it provides a button China users can click to redirect themselves to the Hong Kong site. Analysys International on Wednesday said Baidu’s share of China’s online searches rose to 70% last quarter from 64% the previous quarter, while Google’s share fell to 24% from 31%.
For the current quarter, Baidu forecast revenue in the range of 2.2 billion yuan ($324.4 million) to 2.26 billion yuan ($333.3 million), an increase of 72 percent to 77 percent from a year earlier.
Disclosure: No position