BEIJING (Reuters) – Chinese internet giant Baidu Inc reported second-quarter revenue of 29.6 billion yuan ($4.3 billion) on Tuesday, down 5% from to last year after the company faced a tough economic climate and tight controls on China’s once-thriving tech sector.
Other Chinese tech giants, including Tencent and e-commerce giant JD.com, had also reported disappointing results in recent weeks.
China’s major tech companies are grappling with economic uncertainty, Covid-19 restrictions that have kept consumers jittery and heightened scrutiny from regulators in recent months.
Baidu, which operates China’s most widely used search engine, saw revenue decline but posted a net profit of 3.6 billion yuan ($522 million), buoyed by 31% year-on-year growth of its cloud computing business.
“Despite a difficult macroeconomic environment caused by Covid-19, Baidu Core generated RMB 23.2 billion in revenue in the second quarter,” CEO Robin Li said in an official press release.
“Looking forward, we remain committed to quality revenue growth and sustainable business models.”
Last year, the Beijing-based group reported second-quarter revenue of 31.4 billion yuan ($4.5 billion), up 20% year-on-year at the time.
Baidu has diversified strongly into artificial intelligence, cloud computing and self-driving technologies in recent years as advertising revenue remains low.
Li said Apollo Go, its self-driving arm, has further cemented its position as a leading provider of intelligent transportation services, with fully driverless taxi services launched in the cities of Chongqing and Wuhan.
Beijing regulators’ widespread crackdown on the tech sector, starting in late 2020, has seen record fines, canceled IPOs and lengthy investigations targeting top players, decimating revenue and wreaking havoc. additional pressure on the declining economy.
The campaign aims to reduce monopolistic practices and promote competition between internet platforms.
Last week, Alibaba’s rival JD.com reported its slowest revenue growth yet in the second quarter, after tech giant Tencent reported its first quarterly revenue decline since its IPO.
Didi Chuxing, China’s answer to Uber, was also fined the equivalent of $1.2 billion last month after a year-long cybersecurity investigation.