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Chinese Search Engine Baidu Quadruples Stock Price In IPO

The IPO made one of the biggest gains since the dotcom era. Baidu claims to be the sixth most-visited web site in the world and the second in China.
Search engine Baidu.com, widely viewed as Google Inc.'s equivalent in China, more than quadrupled its stock price Friday in its debut on the Nasdaq Stock Market, making it one of the most successful initial public offerings since the dot-com era.

The Chinese company's stock price soared from an opening of $27 to close at $122.54 at 4 p.m. EDT. The IPO raised a total of $109.1 million, with $86.6 million going to Baidu.

With search among the hottest Internet markets today, the Baidu offering generated immense interest on Wall Street. Based in Beijing, the company is seen as a competitor in the growing Chinese market against Google, Yahoo Inc., Microsoft Corp.'s MSN and others.

The IPO recorded one of the biggest first day gains since the dot-com era. Comparable debuts included InRange Technologies, whose stock rose 189 percent Sept. 21, 2000; ActivePower, 210 percent Aug. 9, 2000; and the largest debut in the dot-com era, VA Linux Systems, 700 percent in December 1999, the Wall Street Journal Online said.

Despite its success, Baidu is substantially smaller than its biggest rivals. In addition, the company is facing copyright infringement lawsuits filed by two Chinese firms. The suits stem from allegedly letting users make unauthorized downloads of music and a Chinese film.

Baidu claims to be the sixth most-visited web site in the world and the second in China.

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