Search engine Baidu slams Google in China

SHANGHAI - Chinese search engine Baidu further strengthened its dominance of the world's largest internet market in the fourth quarter at the expense of US rival Google, a research firm said yesterday.

Baidu's share of the increasingly lucrative sector hit 75.5 per cent in the last three months of the year, compared with 73 per cent in the third quarter, Beijing-based Analysys International said in a statement.

Google saw its share of the Chinese search market continue to slide, falling to 19.6 per cent in the fourth quarter from 21.6 per cent in previous period.

The value of the Chinese search market reached 3.85 billion yuan (NZ$758 million) in the fourth quarter, nearly doubling from a year earlier, the data showed.

China's online population increased 19.1 per cent in 2010 to 457 million users, with nearly 82 per cent of them using search engines, according to the state-backed China internet Network Information Centre.

Baidu has seen its market share increase steadily this year following Google's public spat with Beijing over censorship.

In March, Google said it would no longer bow to government censors and effectively shut down its Chinese search engine, automatically re-routing mainland users to its uncensored site in Hong Kong.

But it ended the automatic redirect in June to avoid having its licence suspended by China.

- AFP

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