BEIJING (AP) - Baidu Inc., which operates China's most popular search engine, said Friday its latest quarterly profit rose 77 percent over a year earlier as customer numbers and spending per customer rose.
Profit for the three months ended Dec. 31 was 2 billion yuan ($326.3 million), or 6 yuan (95 U.S. cents) per share, the Beijing-based company said. Revenue rose 82.5 percent to 4.5 billion yuan ($710.9 million).
For the full year, Baidu said its profit rose 88.3 percent over 2010 to 6.6 billion yuan ($1 billion).
China has the world's biggest population of Internet users, with more than 513 million people online as of December, according to a government-sanctioned industry group, the China Internet Network Information Center.
Baidu has a 78.3 percent share of China's search engine market, according to Analysys International, a research firm in Beijing. Google Inc. was in second place with 16.7 percent, while Sogou, Tencent Soso and other competitors had less than 3 percent each.
Baidu said its number of active online marketing customers rose 12.7 percent over a year earlier to 311,000. Revenue per customer rose 61.8 percent to 14,400 yuan ($2,288).
Baidu, Inc.: www.baidu.com