[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Friday, 23 June 2006, 06:45 GMT 07:45 UK
Google offloads Baidu investment
Offices of Baidu.com
Baidu and Google are now fierce rivals in China
Google has sold its stake in rival Chinese internet search firm Baidu.com.

The US company confirmed that it had disposed of its 2.6% holding in Baidu - acquired before the latter's 2005 stock market flotation - on Wednesday.

Baidu is the leading web search firm in China, a market in which Google lags behind the domestic provider.

Analysts always saw Google's purchase of Baidu shares as a strategic move and Google said it now wanted to focus on its own Chinese business.

China focus

China is the world's second largest internet market, with more than 100 million users.

Google and other foreign firms see huge potential for growth in China but their willingness to censor access to politically sensitive material, to comply with government demands, has attracted fierce criticism.

It has always been our goal to grow our own successful business in China
Debbie Frost, Google

According to US regulatory documents, Google made a substantial profit on its investment in Baidu.

It sold its holding for more than $60m, having acquired the shares for just $5m last year.

Baidu's shares were valued at $27 each when the firm floated last year and are currently trading at about $80 each.

"It has always been our goal to grow our own successful business in China and we are very focused on that," Google spokeswoman Debbie Frost said, confirming the share sale.


SEE ALSO
Baidu jumps after strong earnings
22 Feb 06 |  Business
Google defends China search site
21 Feb 06 |  Technology
Net firms criticised over China
15 Feb 06 |  Technology
China defends internet regulation
15 Feb 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Baidu tumbles on pricing worries
15 Sep 05 |  Business

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific