STORY: China's Baidu beat forecasts for first-quarter revenue on Thursday (May 15).

It was driven by a recovery in advertizing sales and higher demand for its AI-powered cloud products.

China's largest search engine provider reported revenue of almost $4.4 billion for the three months ended March.

That was slightly ahead of analyst estimates.

Baidu has recently increased efforts to boost sales from its AI-related products and services.

This strategic move is part of an image rebranding initiative.

And it comes even though the company still gets the majority of its revenue from advertizing sales.

Revenue at its Baidu Core segment grew 4% to around $3.3 billion.

Core includes its search-based ad sales, cloud offerings and autonomous driving initiatives.

But revenue at its streaming service fell 5%.