Baidu CEO Robin Li. (Photo/Xinhua)
Baidu, China's leading internet search provider, is experiencing slowing growth after it reported "only" 49.7% growth in sales during the third quarter of this year, down from an earlier quarterly growth rate of 70% for several years, Shanghai's First Financial Daily reports.
According to the company's financial report published on Oct. 30, the company's total business revenue in the third quarter was 6.25 billion yuan (US$1 billion), up 49.7% from the same period last year. Its net profit was 3.01 billion yuan (US$481.85 million), which was a 59.8% year-on-year growth.
The company's Q4 revenue is expected to be lower, compared with the past few years, owing to a decline in revenue from advertising sales after the summer, the economic slowdown and the emergence of new competitors in the internet search market.
The situation has caused Robin Li, CEO of the company, to experience a growing sense of crisis. Li had previously said that given the ongoing Chinese economic downturn, only companies that were able to adapt to the new environment would survive in the market.
Li said Baidu would guide its users to shift to mobile internet services, while stepping up investment in new businesses and innovation and improve operating efficiency.
He also said that he had encountered many problems over the last few years. For instance, he was criticized in a report for the slow speed of Baidu's web searches.
The report also urged Li to pay more attention to the problem of internet security, which had been ignored by Baidu.
Additionally, Baidu's launch of a browser for Android devices has not yielded the desired results, according to the report.
Baidu needs to evolve for the future and is at a crucial stage of evolution, Li said in a speech recently. Strategically, Baidu needs to invest more money in new businesses and innovation and encourage progress, he added.
Baidu also had to downsize management and enhance efficiency by reducing meetings and making decisions in a more timely fashion, Li said.
Baidu was being threatened by some of its competitors in the industry, who had a slight edge over the company in moving forward in the era of mobile internet, the report noted.