Baidu, widely seen as the Google of China, felt the heat from its spending on artificial intelligence and other next-gen technologies that have yet to reach the mass market as it unveiled troubled first-quarter financials on Thursday.
The company logged a net loss attributable to shareholders of $49 million in the quarter ended March 31, marking the first quarterly loss since it went public in 2005. That compares to net income of 6.69 billion yuan a year before.
Baidu is the biggest search service in China and has reaped huge rewards from search ads in the PC era. But as consumers allocate their attention to new forms of mobile services — notably recommendation-based apps to discover content — Baidu is losing its appeal.
Xiang Hailong, senior vice president of Baidu’s search business, resigned after serving the company since 2005, announced the earnings report. The search giant has renamed its search business to a new ‘mobile business’.
Baidu’s revenue for the quarter rose slightly to 24.1 billion yuan ($3.5 billion), up 15 percent year-over-year.
This is a developing story. Check back for analysis.