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(Adds details, shares; Compares with estimates)
May 16 (Reuters) - Chinese search engine operator Baidu Inc on Thursday reported lower-than-expected first-quarter earnings and forecast quarterly revenue below estimates, sending its shares down 8% in extended trading.
Revenue from its online marketing services business, a major contributor to overall sales, rose nearly 3% to 17.66 billion yuan ($2.57 billion), but missed estimates of $2.66 billion, according to research firm FactSet.
"Despite government policies to improve the market condition for SMEs, we anticipate online marketing in the near term to face a challenging environment," Chief Financial Officer Herman Yu said.
Baidu forecast second-quarter revenue of 25.1 billion yuan to 26.6 billion yuan, while analysts had expected 29.30 billion yuan, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.
The company reported a net loss attributable to shareholders of 327 million yuan ($47.51 million) in the first quarter ended March 31, compared with net income of 6.69 billion yuan a year earlier.
Excluding items, the company earned 2.77 yuan per American depositary share, falling short of estimates of 2.89 yuan per ADS.
Total revenue rose 15.4% to 24.12 billion yuan ($3.50 billion). Analysts on average had expected the company to report revenue of 24.16 billion yuan, according to IBES data from Refinitiv. ($1 = 6.8832 Chinese yuan renminbi) (Reporting by Akanksha Rana in Bengaluru and Josh Horwitz in Shanghai; Editing by Anil D'Silva)