Roll on the RobotaxisBaidu gets the green light to go ahead and start Beijing’s Robotaxi revolution.
- Chinese regulators approved commercial licenses for both Baidu and the Toyota-backed Pony.ai. Their driverless taxi services can now start taking money for the experience.
- It’s the first time such a big city has authorized the commercialization of robotaxi’s in Asia, setting the stage for others like Shanghai and Guangzhou to do the same.
- It’s planning to launch a Robotaxi service in 100 cities by 2030, and this is the first major step to reaching that goal.
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Chinese crackdown scarsBaidu sees losses on Wednesday despite solid earnings as regulatory woes continue to make a mark.
- The stock sank 5% to erase gains from the last week, now down 26% this year.
- It beat on both ends with revenue up 13% to $4.95bn and EPS coming in at $2.28.
- It reported a loss of $2.6bn after reporting a profit last year.
- A Chinese regulatory crackdown has taken a huge toll on the tech industry, and “common prosperity” policies are eating into profits.
- AI Cloud revenue was there to save the day, seeing a jump of 73% y-o-y and poised to continue growth with products like Robotaxis and smart devices.
- The crackdown isn’t over though, and upbeat guidance was hindered by a warning that ad revenue is expected to continue declining into Q4.
Illustration by TradingView
Tough crowd for BaiduBaidu releases a knockout first quarter earnings report, but the Chinese internet giant sees shares edge lower on the results.
Baidu’s first quarter report solidly outpaced expectations on adjusted earnings and sales, and shares responded with a quick boost in day trading but closed down 0.17%. The AI and internet company reported earnings per share of 12.38 yuan ($1.93) on revenues of 28.1 billion yuan ($4.37 billion), compared to expectations of 10.50 yuan in earnings per share ($1.63) on 27.4 billion yuan ($4.26 billion) in revenue. Revenue was up 34% year over year, and Baidu’s core segment sales leaped up 37% from the same period last year to 20.5 billion yuan (3.8 billion), largely driven by online marketing revenue which made up three quarters of that number.
Baidu also gave an update on its self-driving project, Apollo, which has now accumulated over 6.2 million hours of driving on fully autonomous settings, which is pretty great news given the firm’s ambition of providing a self-driving ride-hailing service called Apollo Go for the Winter 2022 Olympics.
We are delighted to bring innovation across many sectors, including marketing cloud, enterprise cloud, smart transportation, autonomous driving, smart assistant and AI chip, through our decade-long investment in AI,
said CEO Robin Li in a news release.
Baidu’s last earnings report was responsible for its brief stint at the $300 mark in February, helped along by the company's plans to break into the increasingly popular electric vehicle space. The internet giant announced a partnership with automaker Geely in January to create a standalone EV unit that will be an independent subsidiary of Baidu, and investors were clearly ready to rumble on that idea as prices soared over 15%.
Things skidded to a halt in March though and Baidu had its worst month since May 2020, losing over 23% as the SEC officially adopted Trump’s Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act, which requires Chinese companies on U.S. stock exchanges to be audited by U.S. audits. Baidu is listed in both countries, so there was some concern that the shares could be delisted.
It doesn't seem like anyone is too worried now though. Baidu’s outlook for Q2 expects a revenue of up to 32.5 billion yuan ($5.05 billion) and growth in its core segment sales of up to 33% year over year. Citi analyst Alicia Yap is sure the fundamentals of the business remain promising.
While we are not sure whether the huge volatility of share price movement of many technology stocks during the last few days could trigger more forced selling pressure or de-risk selling sentiment from other funds in the next few days, we do believe and are reassured that none of the sell-down is fundamental related,