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How Is Baidu’s Key Business Performing?

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China’s digital advertising market expanded nearly 27%

Did Baidu (BIDU) capitalize on the growth of China’s digital advertising industry in 2018? According to eMarketer estimates, China’s digital advertising market expanded 26.5% to $62.6 billion in 2018.

Advertising is Baidu’s core business, accounting for more than 80% of the company’s total revenue in the third quarter of 2018, the most recent reported period. Baidu is one of China’s top digital advertising companies, meaning the company is well-positioned to ride the growth in China’s digital advertising industry.

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Baidu’s advertising revenue rose 18%

Baidu, Alibaba (BABA), and Tencent (TCEHY), China’s top three Internet companies, were expected to capture 63.2% of all digital advertising dollars in the country in 2018.

In the third quarter of 2018, Baidu’s advertising revenue increased 18% YoY to $3.3 billion. Google (GOOGL), Twitter (TWTR), and Facebook (FB) grew their advertising revenues by 20%, 29%, and 33% YoY, respectively, in the third quarter.

Baidu rebuilding advertising business

Baidu’s advertising business is still recovering from the 2016 shock resulting from a crackdown that sought to remove bad ads from Baidu’s platform. The crackdown resulted in a loss of advertisers, but Baidu has been steadily rebuilding the business. The company closed the third quarter with 522,000 active advertisers, up from 511,000 in the previous quarter. Baidu’s advertiser count peaked at around 594,000 just before it launched the crackdown targeting misleading ads.

Yelp (YELP) had 194,000 active advertisers at the end of the third quarter. Facebook (FB) exited the quarter with over 6.0 million active advertisers on its flagship social network alone.

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