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Baidu Inc. (BIDU) is "increasingly keen" on making strategic acquisitions even though it has not actively pursued them in recent years, Baidu Chief Executive Robin Li said Thursday.
Li, speaking to reporters at a briefing, made his comments as Baidu, one of China's biggest Internet companies, has expanded its lead over Google Inc. (GOOG) in the country with the world's most Internet users.
"We are always open-minded on possible acquisition" opportunities, Li said without giving specific details. Li has said Baidu would consider acquisitions of companies that could help Baidu provide more content through its search engine.
Li also said the company is working on "a number of exciting projects" to tap potential in the mobile search market, including something that will be "revolutionary," but declined to say if Baidu was working on a browser or an operating system.
Mobile search revenue currently makes up only a small percentage of Baidu's revenue and the mobile Internet in China is "still very much underdeveloped," Li said.
Japan is "obviously" Baidu's highest-priority overseas market currently, since Baidu's only search site in another country so far is in Japan, Li said.
Baidu has said it expects substantial revenue from international operations down the road but has not said which countries it expects the revenue to come from.
Baidu's revenue share in China's search market grew six percentage points in the second quarter to 70%, according to Beijing-based research firm Analysys International. Google's share fell by about the same amount to 24%.
-By Owen Fletcher, Dow Jones Newswires; 8610 8400 7702; email@example.com