The Biggest Baidu (Nasdaq: BIDU) Stock Catalyst Is This One Number

Baidu Inc. (Nasdaq: BIDU) stock hit an all-time high of $237.55 this morning after yesterday's Q3 earnings report.

Baidu reported earnings per share (EPS) of $1.79 on revenue of $2.203 billion. Analysts expected EPS of $1.69 and revenue of $2.22 billion. On a non-GAAP basis, BIDU had EPS of $1.90.

Initially, BIDU stock dipped 2% in after-hours trading, likely due to the slight miss in total revenue. But the rest of the company's figures were actually quite strong.

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BIDU's revenue was still up 52% year over year (YOY). Baidu's operating profit was also up 17.4% YOY.

Almost all the company's revenue comes from Baidu's online marketing, which was up 51.8% YOY to $2.188 billion.

Baidu officials posted strong guidance figures for Q4. They expect quarterly revenue to jump as much as 50% to about $2.3 billion.

While almost all of those numbers were strong, there's actually a more important statistic from the Baidu earnings report that many overlook.

In fact, this one number is the main reason BIDU stock hit another all-time high today. It's also the share price's biggest catalyst moving forward...

The One Number Sending BIDU Stock Higher

You see, Baidu is the largest Chinese Internet search provider. It's frequently referred to as the "Google of China."

The company has long dominated Chinese Internet search on personal computers. But over the last year, it's been making a strong push to bolster its presence on mobile devices.

And that strategy is paying off.

This quarter, company officials noted that mobile traffic surpassed PC traffic for the first time. Revenue from mobile accounted for 36% of the company's total revenue. Last quarter, mobile revenue accounted for 30% of Baidu's total.

"In the third quarter, our investments in mobile continued to pay off as mobile proved once again to be a strong driver of topline growth," Baidu's Chief Financial Officer Jennifer Li said. "To fulfill our vision of connecting people with services and to realize the vast opportunities that mobile brings, we will continue to invest aggressively but judiciously."

That mobile growth is key to BIDU stock's long-term success, because the mobile market in China is booming.

"The number of consumers and business folks connected to the Internet in China - whether you're talking about computers, tablets, or smartphones - is bigger than the entire U.S. population," Money Morning's Executive Editor Bill Patalon said.

Money Morning's Tech Specialist Michael Robinson has been bullish on BIDU stock for some time, and recommended it back in February. At the time, shares were trading at $163.

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Readers who bought in on Robinson's recommendation have banked gains of 45.7% in just eight months.

Moving forward, pay close attention to BIDU's performance in the mobile sector. Revenue and EPS will always get headlines, but mobile growth is the biggest long-term catalyst for BIDU stock.

Editor's Note: When he read this statement from the Wall Street Journal, Robinson was floored. In fact, it may have been the worst piece of investing advice he'd ever seen...