BEIJING TheStreet -- With a spotlight shining firmly on the Chinese tech sector following Google's (GOOG) - Get Report recent threat to leave the country, rival Baidu's (BIDU) - Get Reportfourth-quarter results tonight will be closely monitored for signs of future upside.
Although relatively unknown in the West, Baidu is the Chinese Google, providing search services to the world's most populous nation. The Beijing-based firm, which celebrates its tenth anniversary this year, holds about 64% of the country's search market share, well ahead of Google.cn, which holds approximately 31%.
due to a network hack and an ongoing censorship regime, potentially proving a massive boost to Baidu.
Opinions are divided on whether Google will ultimately risk losing its foothold in the
market, although Wall Street is already eyeing Baidu buying opportunities for U.S. investors.
Goldman Sachs, for example, reportedly raised its Baidu price target from $500 to $550, adding that there is a 70% chance that Google would leave the Chinese market.
There is a concern that
, although the company's stock has enjoyed an
following Google's threats to leave the Chinese market.
Baidu, which also competes with Chinese firms
, has also expanded into Japan, which could be used as a launch pad into other Asian markets.
During its recent
, Baidu's profit jumped 42%, but the firm gave weak fourth-quarter guidance, citing the end of its 'Online Marketing Classic Edition' service.
The company is nonetheless expected to enjoy a significant revenue and profit hike when it releases its results after market close. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters are predicting sales of $180 million and earnings of $1.68, up from $132.2 million and $1.31 in the prior year's quarter.
Baidu shares dipped $2.13, or 0.48, to $44.10 on Tuesday, despite the broader advance in tech stocks that saw the Nasdaq gain 1.18%.
-- Reported by James Rogers in New York
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