By Iris Mansour
August 29, 2013

Baidu

The massive Chinese search engine is still growing fast thanks to an aggressive mobile strategy. So is its business, which has an annual growth rate of 78%. The company brought in revenues of $3.8 billion. Baidu (BIDU)‘s push into mobile included th $1.9 billion acquisition of 91 Wireless, one of China’s leading app stores. That should put it in a stronger position vis-a-vis competitors Alibaba and Tencent, both of which were quicker to the mobile market. Baidu is also preparing to take on China’s YouTube equivalent, Youku-Tudou.

In the past 12 months iBaidu bought online video portal PPStream as well as a majority stake iQiyi. Competitors beware.


3D Systems

3D printing promises to transform manufacturing. Chuck Hull — who founded 3D Syste (DDD)ms — created the first 3D printer in 1983. Now the technology is finally becoming more wide spread (and hyped). Data can be inputted into printers that lay down thin layers of material, plastic or metal for instance, to create everything from gun parts to artificial limbs and jewelry.

The company’s products range from the Cube, a personal 3D printer sold at Staples for $1,300 to production printers used by the likes of General Motors to prototype new parts. The company brought in $378 million in revenue over the past year. Not surprisingly, its annual growth rate has been a scorching 119%.


Apple

What was that about AAPL? Apple (AAPL)‘s $450 billion-plus market capitalization means it is the world’s most valuable company (again). The gadgets giant is still riding high off the popularity of its iPhones and iPads, which helped fuel its $169 billion in revenue. The question now is, what will Apple do next? A cheaper iPhone is rumored to be on the way as well as a partnership with China’s biggest mobile phone carrier. Both would be a healthy start.


Cirrus Logic

The chipmaker does the bulk of its business — at least 80% — with Apple and the two firms’ fates are tightly intertwined. Cirrus Logic’s audio chips are found in everything from the iPad mini to the iPhone. when the semiconductor firm posted disappointing revenue forecast this Spring, Apple’s stock also took a tumble. The Austin-based firm still posted $136.6 millio in revenue, up from $88 million last year. What’s more, analysts are predicting that its growth will slow down. The question is whether Cirr (CRUS)us will manage to maintain its biggest account going forward.


Opentable

Opentable (OPEN)— founded during the first dotcom boom — still leads the restaurant reservation sector. It was feared that the San Francisco-based company would lose ground to international competitors expanding in the U.S. but it still has more restaurants using its booking software and more diners using its site. Opentable’s acquisition of food-social site Foodspotting and mobile technology firm Just Chalo has also put it on track to dominate the mobile-booking market, while other expansion efforts have focused on gaining market share abroad, notably in the U.K.


Priceline

Bill Shatner should be pleased. Priceline (PCLN) — which employed the ex-Star Trek actor to be its advertising persona — wowed market-watchers as its stock edged close to a $1,000 valuation, a feat not even managed by Google. The travel site made $1.481 billion in profits in the past year. Its purchase of arch rival Kayak for $1.8 billion rid it of a serious competitor with a robust mobile strategy.

Bookings.com, an international hotels reservation site acquired in 2004, keeps on expanding abroad. In fact the international market accounted for 80% of the company’s bookings in 2012.


MercadoLibre

MercadoLibre (MELI) is Latin America’s answer to eBay, which also happens to be its largest shareholder. As the region’s middle class grows, so has its customer base. The biggest e-commerce site in the region has 90.2 million registered users and currently operates in 13 countries from Brazil to Peru. With better internet connections and the increase in smartphones, MercadoLibre is expecting to grow, well, even more.

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