Google sells stake in Chinese search rival Baidu
LONDON - Google has disposed of its 2.6% shareholding in China's leading internet search engine Baidu.com, as it plans to expand in the Middle East and North Africa.
The US search giant said it sold Baidu.com to focus on its own service within China, which it launched earlier this year.
It bought the stake for around $5m in 2004 and has sold it for more than $60m (£32.9m). Baidu listed on the New York Stock Exchange last year at $27 and is now trading at around $80.
The Google.cn site has proved controversial because Google has allowed it to be censored by the Chinese government.
Google is also expanding its operations in the Middle East and North Africa, according to sources.
It has a launched an Arabic-language version of Google News, an Arabic email service and an English/Arabic translation tool.
Google is set to challenge any approach to censor its search results in the Middle East and Africa, although governments are expected to block access to porn sites.
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