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Google Sells Baidu Shares

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According to a U.S. regulatory filing, Google has sold the shares the company held in Baidu, Google’s fiercest competition in China. Google had owned over 2.5 percent of the company before the May 25th sale.

Reuters says the news was uncovered in a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission that revealed Google had sold 749,625 Baidu Class A ordinary shares.

A Google spokesperson said the sale was in line with the company’s goal to “grow our own” business in China. Google’s shares, bought in 2004 for $5 million, sold for $63 million.

Late in 2005, Google launched a Chinese version of its search engine from Chinese servers called Guge, located at google.cn. This appears to be precipitous of the stock sale. Prior to the launch, Google struggled with Chinese censors blocking access to google.com.

Chinese searchers, according to a report today from CNet, have been downloading a Web browser called Maxthon, which allows users to circumvent censors by connecting to proxy browsers. Use of the browser has spread virally throughout the country, used by some 14 percent of the Chinese Web surfers.

One wonders, though, how long before the Chinese government puts its foot down on Maxthon, too, now that the word is out.

Google Sells Baidu Shares
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