BEIJING (AP) — Baidu Inc., which operates China's most popular search engine, said Tuesday its latest quarterly profit rose 60 percent but revenue growth slowed as the Chinese economy cooled.
Profit for the three months ending Sept. 30 was $478.6 million (3 billion yuan), the Beijing-based company reported. Revenue rose 49.7 percent to $994.6 million (6.3 billion yuan) but that growth was down from the previous quarter's 60 percent.
Baidu has about 78.6 percent of China's Internet search market, ahead of No. 2 Google Inc. with 15.4 percent, according to Analysys International, a research firm in Beijing.
The rapid growth of China's Internet companies has dipped as the country's economic growth declined to a three-year low of 7.4 percent in the latest quarter. China has the world's most populous Internet market and rapid growth in numbers of people who go online via mobile phones and tablet computers has opened new opportunities.
Baidu has released a mobile browser and said in September it will invest in a cloud computing center but has been slower than some competitors such as Tencent and UCWeb to expand in mobile Web access.
Baidu has dominated China's search market since Google closed its mainland search engine in 2010 but now faces new competition from a search engine launched in August by a Chinese anti-virus supplier, Qihoo 360 Technology Ltd. Qihoo also distributes its own browser.
Qihoo 360 accounted for 7 to 10 percent of search traffic in the final week of August, according to Analysys International.
China had 538 million people online at the end of July, up 11 percent from a year earlier, according to the China Internet Network Information Center, a government-authorized industry group. The number of mobile Internet users rose 22 percent to 388 million, or more than 70 percent of the total.