Who's the real winner in the brawl between Google ( GOOG) and Baidu.com ( BIDU)? It might be Sina ( SINA). On Thursday, Google trumpeted recent gains it has made in the Chinese search market. Google's market share grew 4% to about 23% during the second quarter, according to research firm Analysys International. Baidu's market share rose only 1% to 58% over the same period. "We are closing the gap with them (Baidu)," Rebecca Kuei, Google's head of sales and business development for Taiwan and Hong Kong, told Reuters. But it's Sina -- which announced a partnership to host Google's search in June -- that may be the best bet for investors looking to take advantage of the intensifying rivalry between Google and Baidu. Despite Google's bragging, Baidu's advantage remains impressive -- and that could likely lead to Google showering even more cash onto the already well-positioned Sina.
Want more? Check out TheStreet.com TV video. Vishesh Kumar discusess Sina's emergence.
In fact, looking closer at Google's claims, they're not as impressive -- or damaging to Baidu -- as they might seem. The search giant started off with a smaller share of the market to begin with, so making gains would be less difficult. And given that Baidu continued to pick up even more of the market despite its already impressive share, the gains likely came at the expense of other smaller players.