HONG KONG, 31 OCTOBER 2008 Baidu.com, one of China's biggest Internet search engines, has just launched its own shopping Web site and plans to make it the largest of its kind in China within three years.
The Web site youa.baidu.com recorded more than four million page views, while 1.99 million items of goods went on sale on it on Tuesday, when the consumer-to-consumer (C2C) Web site was launched, the company said last week.
Baidu said the Web site "would" replace Taobao, which held an 85 per cent share of the C2C auction market, to become the country's largest online retail platform within three years.
Alibaba: Welcome competition
An officer of Alibaba, which set up Taobao in 2003, said they welcomed competition when asked for comments on the move of Baidu. However, Taobao blocked the search engine last month.
Taobao pursued free services since it was established in 2003 and in 2005 it promised another three years of free services. The strategy helped it beat eBay to become the nation's largest online auction site.
Nasdaq-listed Baidu is often referred to as China's version of Google because of the Chinese-language search engine's soaring popularity and profits.
The company's net profit for 2007 rose 108 per cent to RMB629 million (US$92.1 million) while revenues rose 110 per cent to RMB1.74 billion (US$254 million).
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