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Baidu CEO Robin Li Chirps Up Achievements Despite Quarterly Loss

By Matthew Walsh / Nov 08, 2019 05:49 PM / Business & Tech

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

Baidu may have posted a third-quarter net loss on Wednesday, but founder and CEO Robin Li is puffing his chest out about the online search leader’s recent achievements.

In an internal email to Baidu staff on Thursday verified by Caixin, Li wrote that the negative figure partly stemmed from the application of accounting standards known as GAAP, which are required by the U.S. securities regulator, to the company’s financial performance. By those metrics, Baidu made a net loss of 6.4 billion yuan ($892 million) during the third quarter, due in part to an 8.9 billion yuan write-down on its investment in Trip.com, the leading online travel agent formerly known as Ctrip.

When Baidu excluded such write-downs and other accounting items to create its own non-GAAP figure to “provide meaningful supplemental information regarding its performance,” the company made a net profit of 4.4 billion yuan, Li wrote. “This kind of performance was secured despite the impacts of many uncertain and interrelated elements, making them even more remarkable,” he added. “It shows that our recent positive reforms are already yielding preliminary results.”

Baidu has also created “China’s leading knowledge- and information-centered mobile ecosystem,” Li added. Citing the company’s push into artificial intelligence, he wrote that “in the future, Baidu will fully demonstrate its advantages in the AI sphere and become a founder of the smart-economy era.”

Baidu’s latest quarterly net loss contrasts with the 12.4 billion yuan profit it turned during the third quarter of last year. Revenue for the latest quarter came in at 28.2 billion yuan, a slight decrease from last year but better than Wall Street’s predictions.

Contact reporter Matthew Walsh (matthewwalsh@caixin.com)

Related: Baidu Reports 3Q Loss on Investment Write-Down

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