That was the company’s first loss since it went public in 2005, and compared with a profit of 6.7 billion yuan during the same period last year.
CEO Robin Li said the sharp drop in earnings was due in part to China’s broader economic slowdown and increased government scrutiny of online content, which had hurt the company’s core business. Online marketing accounted for 73% of Baidu’s quarterly revenue of $3.6 billion.
“Although the Chinese government has announced many economic policies to bolster the economy … we are taking a cautious view that online marketing in the near term will face a more challenging environment,” Li said during an earnings call.
The company announced Thursday that the head of its main search business, Hailong Xiang, had resigned after 14 years at the company. Baidu named its vice president of mobile products as his successor, saying the mobile and search businesses would now be combined into one.