The Wall Street money machine gets a big test Thursday night when a Chinese search engine prices 4 million initial shares for listing on the Nasdaq. ( BIDU), based in Beijing, said in a regulatory filing that it expects the shares to price at $23 to $25 apiece, up from its earlier range of $19 to $21. It has also increased the size of the IPO to 4.04 million shares from the previously announced 3.6 million.

At the midpoint of its projected price range, will raise $101 million.

As the Chinese counterpart to the popular U.S. search company Google ( GOOG), is being compared to one of the hottest Wall Street IPOs of the last half-decade. Its revenue is only a fraction of Google's, but it has shown impressive growth in recent years, posting $4.5 million in operating cash flow in 2004 after breaking even the previous year. Google owns a 2.6% stake in the company.

Baidu will make its Wall Street debut at a time when Chinese companies have become a lightning rod in the U.S. financial markets and political circles. The Chinese government's recent revaluation of its currency followed a couple of attempts by Chinese companies to acquire U.S. assets, including the controversial bid for Unocal ( UCL).

Meanwhile, the fast-growing Chinese economy has long been viewed as a new frontier for U.S. multinational corporations looking to find emerging markets, such as Wal-Mart ( WMT) and Starbucks ( SBUX).

With about 20 Chinese companies having listed on the Nasdaq since 2000, only about three Chinese IPOs have taken place in 2005, including Hurray ( HRAY), China Techfaith ( CNTF) and Focus Media ( FMCN).

Other Chinese companies with popular stocks trading on the Nasdaq include ( SINA) and ( SOHU).