Baidu posts strong Q4 despite fake drugs scandal

Chinese search firm Baidu boosted income 31% in Q4 and 66% for the full year, despite a scandal over its listings for fake medicines.

Baidu, which has approximately 70% of China's search market, recorded earnings of 288.7 million yuan ($42.3 million) for the quarter, and 1 billion yuan for 2008. Revenue grew 58% in Q4 to 902 million yuan. Full-year revenue increased 83% to 3.2 million yuan.

The fallout from the scandal may have led to slight a decline in revenue per customer, which fell 2.1% sequentially to 4,600 yuan. But even this figure was up 24% year-on-year.

A "large portion" of the medical supply customers who stopped using Baidu's services over the scandal have signed back on, Baidu said. Medical listings account for 10-15% of the company's total revenue.

"Having gone through this important quarter, Baidu has become a stronger company with a higher quality customer base, tighter operational controls and more confidence in our ability to overcome challenges," Baidu CEO Robin Li said.