About one month ago we noticed that a healthy chunk of our traffic was coming from a search engine in China called Baidu.com. In this case the actual site was mp3.baidu.com and the search engine had honed in on Jim Hedger’s mp3 recorded interview with the BBC regarding Google’s possible IPO. Since StepForth primarily promotes english-oriented search engines, this was the first time we had ever seen Baidu.com. So we decided to do a little digging on this search engine. Now according to an article from Reuters found on ZDNet, Baidu is among a host of Chinese search engines that are looking to make a dent in the search engine industry! In fact, the CEO of an up and coming search property bought by Yahoo! in November (anyone left out there?) said that his job is to “kick Google’s ass.”

The three main contenders in China are Baidu.com (a Google duplicate),Yahoo subsidiary 3721.com and Zhongsou.com (roughly translated as “China search”). Each company is profitable and partakes in pay per click advertising in some form with up to 80% of total revenues from sponsored links.

At this time analysts say that Baidu.com appears to be the best candidate for acquisition by Google since it broke into the black at 2003 year end. Baidu.com is also the most established brand which will likely make it more appealing when Google decides it wants another sibling.