Baidu posted a first-quarter net profit of $70.4 million, up nearly three times from last year.
Elinor Leung, an analyst for CLSA in Hong Kong, said, “It’s not going to happen overnight, but over time Google’s traffic will decline gradually, and over time we expect one-third of the advertising dollar to shift to Baidu.”
According to the research company Analysys International, Baidu captured more than 64% of China’s internet search market in the first quarter, up from 58.4% in the fourth quarter, while Google’s share fell to 31% from 35.6%.
Google shut its mainland Chinese-language portal and began rerouting searches to its Hong Kong site in late March, to avoid self-censorship demands from Beijing.
Baidu’s increased market share in the first quarter might partly reflect the lead-up to Google’s exit.
New York Times reports that despite the shuttering of its Google.cn site, Google continues to sell advertisements in China via its Hong Kong site, Google.hk, which now has a version using simplified Chinese characters specifically targeted at mainland users.