Chinese Internet Search Firm Baidu Looks Forward to Life after Google

The Washington Post profiles Baidu and the company’s future in the wake of Google’s potential departure from the China market:

Now investors are betting that Baidu will reap the benefits if Google ends up exiting China over its dispute with the government about alleged cyberattacks on Google e-mail and source code. Since Tuesday, when Google announced that it would stop censoring its search engine even if that meant losing its Chinese business license, Baidu’s stock on the Nasdaq has surged 21 percent to a new high, adding $2.8 billion to the company’s market value in just three days.

Although investors are happy, China watchers are worried about the political consequences of Chinese Internet users depending too heavily on Baidu for news and information.

The company has been accused of altering search results for advertisers, by either deleting content or pushing firms’ sites higher up on the search result lists in return for payments. The charge has prompted the company to launch an overhaul of its listings.

Moreover, as a Chinese company, Baidu has little choice but to comply with government demands for censorship. An industry source familiar with the firm said officials from the Ministry of Industries and Information Technology are stationed at its offices.

January 18, 2010 10:48 PM
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