Baidu profit up 77 percent on customer growth

BEIJING (AP) ? Baidu Inc., which operates China’s most popular search engine, says its latest quarterly profit rose 77 percent on growth in customer numbers.

The Beijing-based company said Friday profit for the three months ended Dec. 31 was 2 billion yuan ($326.3 million), or 6 yuan (95 U.S. cents) per share. Revenues rose 82.5 percent to 4.5 billion yuan ($710.9 million).

China has the world’s biggest population of Internet users, with more than 513 million people online as of December.

Baidu said its profit for the full year rose 88.3 percent to 6.6 billion yuan ($1 billion).