Baidu revenue up 10% to $4.54 bn in first-quarter

Baidu said its revenue rose 10 percent to 31.14 billion yuan ($4.54 billion) in the quarter to March 31, 2023.
Baidu advertisingRevenue from Baidu Core, which includes search-based advertising sales, cloud offerings and its autonomous driving initiatives, grew 8 percent to 23 billion yuan ($3.35 billion).

Of this, revenue from Baidu’s largest segment, online marketing, accounted for 16.6 billion yuan ($2.42 billion), up 6 percent.

Revenue at its streaming service iQIYI rose 15 percent to 8.3 billion yuan ($1.22 billion), driven by 28 percent growth in its subscriber base.

Baidu has reported net income of 5.83 billion yuan ($848 million), compared to net loss in the year-ago quarter.

The company’s much-touted rival to ChatGPT, Ernie bot, has yet to be officially launched, despite having been partially unveiled to the public in mid-March.

Baidu CEO Robin Li said in a press release that the company planned to steadily incorporate the generative AI-driven chatbot into all of the search engine giant’s businesses, without giving a specific timeline.

Robin Li in its earnings report said the company had applied for government review and approval of Ernie bot, and would roll it out large scale once it gets the green light from regulators.

Robin Li said that despite the entry of many new players in the Chinese generative AI and large-language model industry, there was a very high barrier to entry that meant Baidu expected a highly concentrated market with probably 2-3 major players emerging in the end.

On concerns that U.S. curbs on China’s access to certain chips could set back the development of its AI industry, the Baidu CEO said that the company had secured a substantial amount of computing power, including the most advanced GPUs, in order to continue training and improving Ernie bot.

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