Feb. 9 (Bloomberg) — Baidu Inc., owner of China’s most popular Internet search engine, forecast sales that topped estimates after Google Inc. said it may exit the world’s largest Web market. The shares jumped as much as 10 percent. Revenue will rise to between 1.2 billion Yuan ($176 million) and 1.24 billion Yuan in the period ending March 31, Baidu said today in a statement. This compares with 1.13 billion Yuan, the median of analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Baidu has outperformed Chinese Internet stocks including Tencent Holdings Ltd. and Alibaba.com Ltd. this year on expectations that the Beijing-based company will gain sales from Google’s customers in China, home to more than 380 million Web users. Google, owner of the world’s most-popular search engine, said last month that cyber attacks from China may prompt the closure of its Chinese operations.  

Baidu held 58.6 percent of China’s online search market in the fourth quarter, down from 63.9 percent in the previous three months, according to researcher Analysis International. Google’s market share in the country increased to 35.6 percent in the fourth quarter from 31.3 percent in the previous three months, according to the Beijing-based researcher.

Source: Bloomberg

BIIA Newsletter March I – 2010 Issue