Baidu.com, Inc. (ADR) (NASDAQ:BIDU) is the largest search engine in China and is also the largest Chinese technology firm listed on a US stock exchange. In a market where online companies are priced at very high multiples, BIDU is a reasonably cheap stock. Right now, the company is focusing on mobile monetization and cloud-based services.
Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) has limited access to the Chinese market which provides room for growth in cloud-based services to BIDU. The company has beaten analyst estimates in the previous quarter and expects to maintain 50% YoY growth, for the next quarter as well. This growth is driven by high Revenue per Customer and an increase in the number of total customers. The valuations for this giant are still pretty reasonable and if investors have an appetite for the risks listed below, it’s an excellent long term bet.
Baidu is China’s leading search engine with a market share of approximately 78.6% (Analysis International). The company has shown stellar performance over the last few years, as can be seen from the table below. The revenues have increased from $469 million to $2.3 billion in the last four years.
The company has continued its stellar performance into 2012, with last quarter revenues exceeding analyst expectations and reported at approximately $1 billion. The company will release its next quarter results on February 11 and it will be a catalyst for the stock price.
Baidu (BIDU) reported its 3rd quarter results on October 29. The market was expecting EPS of $1.28 and revenue of $ 0.998 billion dollars. The company beat estimates by reporting revenue of $0.99 billion and an EPS of $1.38. It also disclosed that it is focusing on its mobile monetization, to maximize benefit from ongoing transition from PC to mobile.
There was a 50% yoy increase in revenues and 48% yoy in operating profit. The net income for the quarter was $478 million, a significant increase of 60% yoy. According to company disclosures, this impressive growth was driven by improvement in monetization platforms and customer base.
The revenue from online marketing was $993 million, an increase of approximately 50% YoY. This growth was partially driven by an increase in the total number of customers. Active online marketing customers increased to 390,000, a YoY increase of 28% and a QoQ increase of approximately 11%.
The second catalyst for growth in marketing revenue was the increase in Revenue per Customer. RPC for the period was $2546, a YoY increase of 17% and a QoQ increase of 3.2%. There was also an increase in Traffic Acquisition Cost (TAC) which increased to $86 million.
Selling, General and Administrative expenses were $102 million for the quarter, which is a 40% increase YoY. According to company disclosures, the primary driver of SG&A expenses was the increase in human resources, and increased marketing efforts. The focus on mobile monetization has increased R&D expenses by approximately 60% ($97.8 million for the current quarter).