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Last Updated: Tuesday, 19 June 2007, 16:37 GMT 17:37 UK
Baidu rules out takeover strategy
Baidu.com office
Baidu has a 60% share of the Chinese search market
Leading Chinese search engine firm Baidu.com has said it has no plans to boost its growth by making acquisitions either at home or abroad.

Baidu is China's most-used search engine, ahead of foreign rivals such as Google, with 60% market share and steady annual growth since 2003.

"Our share has not reached its potential," chief finance officer Shawn Wang told BBC World Business Report.

"Buying rivals would dilute our rate of growth and create a loss of focus."

He added: "I do not believe we should go out and make acquisitions just because we have acquisition currency."

'Strong competition'

In April, Baidu saw first-quarter pre-tax profits rise by 138% to $11.2m (5.6m), as revenues grew by 103% to $35.7m.

Revenues from online marketing services - the amount that businesses pay to have their information prominently displayed on the search engine - rose 108%.

But Mr Wang said that despite its dominant position, Baidu was not taking its pole position in the Chinese market for granted.

"The competition is always strong," he said. "Whoever has global ambitions says they want to be in China at any cost.

"Competition has always been with us. Luckily we have been winning more and more market share from our competition."

'Big ship'

However, those users are restricted in what they can view on the internet, as China has one of the most sophisticated and ambitious internet censorship programmes.

China aims to make the internet available to everyone in the country - but the authorities also strictly govern what can and cannot be seen.

Mr Wang said: "We want to provide the best information for our users, but at the same time we have to do that with laws and regulations.

"We are a Chinese company. For us, it is not an option not to follow them."

He said that the amount of information available to Chinese internet users was growing every year.

Mr Wang added: "Things are moving in the right direction, but it does take time. When you run a big ship like [China], you don't expect drastic change."

Baidu's Shawn Wang speaks to the BBC

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