Baidu Q1 2024 Earnings Report: Solid Revenue Growth, Strong AI Cloud Performance, and Increased Operational Efficiency

Baidu Q1 2024 Earnings Highlights

– Total Revenue: ¥31.5B (Est. ¥31.43B); UP +1% YoY

– Adjusted Operating Profit: ¥6.67B (Est. ¥5.73B)
– Adjusted Profit per ADS: ¥19.91 (Est. ¥15.59)

Free Cash Flow:
– Free Cash Flow (excluding iQIYI): ¥4.18B; UP +18% YoY

Baidu Core:
– Revenue: ¥23.8B; UP +4% YoY
– Online Marketing Revenue: ¥17.0B; UP +3% YoY
– Non-Online Marketing Revenue: ¥6.8B; UP +6% YoY, driven by AI Cloud business
– Operating Income: ¥4.5B
– Adjusted EBITDA: ¥7.1B; Margin 30%

– Revenue: ¥7.9B; DOWN -5% YoY

Operational Metrics:
– Adjusted Operating Income (Non-GAAP): ¥6.67B; UP +4% YoY
– Net Income to Baidu (Non-GAAP): ¥7.01B; UP +22% YoY
– Adjusted EBITDA: ¥8.24B (Est. ¥7.58B); Margin 26% (Flat YoY)

Key Financial Metrics:
– Cost of Revenues: ¥15.3B; UP +1% YoY
– Selling, General, and Administrative Expenses: ¥5.4B; DOWN -1% YoY
– Research and Development Expenses: ¥5.4B; DOWN -1% YoY
– Income Tax Expense: ¥883M; DOWN from ¥1.2B YoY

Cash and Investments:
– Cash, Cash Equivalents, Restricted Cash and Short-term Investments: ¥191.8B
– Cash Liquidity (excluding iQIYI): ¥185.8B

Share Repurchase Program:
– $229M worth of shares repurchased in Q1 2024, cumulative repurchase of $898M
– Repurchased approximately $97M worth of Class A ordinary shares in March

Term Loan B:
– Paid down the remaining $497M balance

AI Cloud:
– PaddlePaddle Developer Community: Grew to 13 million by mid-April 2024
– ERNIE Family: Expanded with several lightweight large language models

Intelligent Driving:
– Apollo Go: Provided approximately 826K rides in Q1 2024, UP +25% YoY. Cumulative rides surpassed 6 million

Mobile Ecosystem:
– Baidu App’s MAUs: Reached 676 million in March 2024, UP +3% YoY
– Managed Page: Accounted for 50% of Baidu Core’s online marketing revenue in Q1 2024

CEO Robin Li’s Commentary:
– “Baidu Core’s online marketing revenue remained stable, while the end-to-end optimization of our AI technology stack continued to propel the growth of our AI Cloud revenue during the quarter. As a new era of Gen-AI unfolds in China, foundation models like ERNIE will serve as the underlying infrastructure, infusing various facets of people’s lives. We are making our ERNIE family of models increasingly affordable and efficient. This should provide Baidu with even greater opportunities ahead.”

CFO Rong Luo’s Insight:
– “In the first quarter of 2024, Baidu Core’s non-GAAP operating margin expanded both year-over-year and quarter-over-quarter to 23.5%. We have established a track record of consistently improving operational efficiency. In the coming quarters, we will execute on what is needed to optimize our operational efficiency in support of our AI-enabled businesses and high-quality growth, and maintain a healthy non-GAAP operating margin.”

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