Baidu beats Google in China, but are its days numbered?

According to MarketShare, an online source for global internet statistics, Google China has taken a severe beating from Chinese search engine Baidu.

51% of Chinese searches is now done via Baidu and, thanks to the explosive growth in Chinese internet users, 9% of searches all over the world.

China is a huge market, with currently 338 million users. And they keep coming: the China Internet Network Information Center reported recently that during the first six months of 2009, China added no fewer than 40 million users, up 13.4% from late 2008.

So, logically, everybody wants a piece of the Chinese internet pie. (I´d personally love some) And new search engines are popping up all over China, like Qunar, a travel niche search engine and Tencent with Soso , Netease with Youdao and, of course, Microsoft with Bing.

Unlike Google, Baidu still sells its results to the highest bidder. So the results you get are what someone has paid for you to see. Yes, Google does the same thing, but they clearlly differentiate between paid results and free results. At some point, the Chinese will probably grow tired of this.

So far, Baidu is holding its ground, but realistically, with so many high quality competitors, they are bound to loose some of their market.