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Google sheds China investment

Bye bye, Baidu

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Google has sold a stake in the Chinese search engine-cum-portal, Baidu. Google bought a 2.6 per cent share in the company June 2004, shortly before its own public floatation.

Since then, Google had a change of strategy and opted for a direct involvement in China. In May last year, it applied for a license to operate in the PRC, and in December began to co-operate with the government's censorship mandates, the 'Great Firewall of China'.

Earlier this month, Reporters Without Borders found that Yahoo! was censoring results even more zealously than Baidu.

But in one respect, the investment in Baidu has paid off. Baidu stock began trading on the New York Stock Exchange in August last year. Google's original investment of $5m is now worth over $60m.

By contrast Yahoo! invested $1bn in Chinese auction site Alibaba at the same time that Baidu was floating on the NYSE. Alibaba's eccentric CEO John Wu cheerfully admitted recently that the $1bn has been all but spent. ®

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