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BIDU top line growth is solid

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advance2 April 9, 2015 (Chinavestor) Total revenue of Baidu Inc. (NASDAQ: BIDU) increased 53.6% in 2014 from a year earlier. This growth rate marks a significant improvement from 43.2% growth rate in 2013. One of the most important developments in revenue composition is that mobile revenues made up 37% of total revenue in 2014.

Increasing number of users, number of searches, and total marketing budgets of customers all contributed to the steady revenue growth for BIDU. Current trends suggest that BIDU's search technology will continue to deliver e-commerce development in China, resulting in steady revenue growth rate in the foreseeable future. In October 2013, BIDU acquired 100% equity interest of 91 Wireless from NetDragon Wesbsoft Inc. and other minority shareholders. After consolidating 91 Wireless financial statements and realizing the synergy, this acquisition facilitated transitioning from online to mobile revenue generation by developing app distribution and gaming network.

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After a disappointing net income growth in 2013, net income attributable to Baidu shareholders grew by 25.4% in 2014. A 70% increase in R&D expenses in 2014 hurt profit margins, but strong operating results lifted net income anyway. Intensive investment in mobile technology has started to pay off, especially for the Q3 and Q4 2014. Search engine marketing business bore fruits in 2014, resulting in a 40.8% increase of revenue per online marketing customer. SG&A associated costs jumped over 100% from previous year due to substantial investment in mobile products offerings and promotions. These costs are expected to yield a reasonable return in 2015. Traffic acquisition costs accounted for 12.9% of revenue and are intended to promote newly acquired Hao123 and contextual ads.

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