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Baidu.com the most popular search engine in ChinaDharamshala: Baidu, the operator of China’s biggest Internet search engine on Tuesday claimed that advertisers have become more confident in Baidu.com since its rival Google-China threatened to exit the country.

Robin Li, CEO of Baidu, commented on the company’s recent financial success, “what we have seen in the market is that our customers’ --- our partner’s confidence level in Baidu is certainly higher [than expected] and we think we [will] benefit from that,” PCWorld reported.

Last month, Google, the world's most popular seach engine, threatened to shut down its China-based operations alleging cyber attacks and unfounded censorship; a move which analysts are now saying could boost usage of other search engines in China.

Baidu reported significant gains in revenue and net income for the final quarter of last year compared to 2008. The company's revenue of 1.26 billion Yuan (US$184 million) saw a rise of nearly 40 percent, while its net income was reported as 428 million Yuan, up nearly 50 percent from 2008 levels.

The world community looked forward to an easing of restrictions on freedom of speech and internet censorship after the 2008 Olympics, as was promised by the government, however Internet controls have continued to be tightened with blocks being placed on popular social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and most recently IMDb, a movie database website. With Baidu's gaining popularity, currently estimated at holding over 60 percent of the internet search market in China, the Chinese government can command a more effective control on the Internet search and online media strategy.

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