Baidu Inc. is targeting search growth to 79 percent market share of China by next year, based on a report from Thompson Reuters citing the company’s general manager Tang Hesong on Tuesday.

The China-based Internet search company has benefited to a great extent from the exit of Google Inc., the worldwide Internet search leader, from the world's most populous nation earlier this year.

Baidu's Internet search market share in China jumped from 58.4 percent to 64 percent from the last quarter of 2009 to the first of this year, as Google's market share dipped in the country to 30.9 percent from 35.6 percent.

If Google entirely falls off the map in China, Baidu could completely own the Internet search industry in the country, as there is no other legitimate rival currently entrenched. The next closest competitor to Baidu after Google in China is Sogou, with a microscopic 0.7 percent market share in the first quarter of 2010.

Sogou and other minor players in the China market were not able to profit from the drop off seen by Google in the first quarter.

The 70 percent market share foreseen by Baidu's GM may not be outlandish; it may actually be a conservative estimate if Google pulls out of the China market over the restrictive censorship policies.

Baidu share are up 40 cents to $70.21 in late market movement on Tuesday.


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