Chinese tech titan Baidu received approval Thursday to operate commercial driverless robotaxi services in a specified zone in Beijing. Toyota (7203.Japan)-backed self-driving start-up Inc. was also granted a license, in the first ever regulatory approvals for paid driverless taxis by Chinese authorities.

Baidu wants to launch its driverless taxi service in 100 cities by the end of the decade. The company’s fleet of 67 vehicles will cover more than 600 pickup and drop-off points in commercial and residential areas. The stock has fallen 30% year-to-date, largely due to China's wide-ranging crackdown.

Baidu warned ad sales would be hit by the regulatory crackdown in the coming quarters. Baidu's earnings may have beaten expectations, for both profit and revenue, but the company warned of a hit to ad sales. The company's ad sales have been hit by a regulatory crackdown for the past few quarters.
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