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China's Baidu beats quarterly revenue estimates on ad recovery, cloud

China's Baidu beat analysts' estimates for first-quarter revenue on Thursday, driven by a recovery in advertising sales and higher demand for its AI-powered cloud products.

The company, China's largest search engine provider, reported revenue of 31.51 billion yuan ($4.37 billion) for the three months ended March 31, compared to analysts' average estimate of 31.21 billion yuan as per LSEG data.

U.S.-listed shares of the company rose about 3% in premarket trade.

Baidu has recently intensified its efforts to boost sales from its AI-related products and services.

This strategic move is part of an image rebranding initiative, despite the fact that the company still derives the majority of its revenue from advertising sales.

"Baidu Core's online marketing revenue remained stable, while the end-to-end optimization of our AI technology stack continued to propel the growth of our AI Cloud revenue during the quarter," said co-founder and CEO Robin Li in an earnings release.

Revenue from Baidu Core, which includes its search-based ad sales, cloud offerings and autonomous driving initiatives, grew 4% to 23.8 billion yuan.

Meanwhile, revenue at its streaming service iQIYI fell 5% to 7.9 billion yuan.

Baidu reported adjusted net income of 7 billion yuan for the quarter, beating the analysts' average estimate of 5.57 billion yuan, according to LSEG data.