BAIDU, China's biggest search engine operator, said profit in the second quarter of this year surged nearly 70 percent due to increasing spending for paid search links.

Chief Executive Officer Robin Li told a conference call after the earnings release yesterday that the company will consider making an acquisition to extend more services to users, following last year's US$306 million investment in travel search site Qunar.

"If users search for information or product that belongs to important vertical categories, Baidu will consider owning that by either acquisition or do it ourselves," Li said.

Net income in the three months ended on June 30 increased 69.6 percent to US$436 million, and sales grew 59.8 percent to US$859 million, the company said yesterday.

Baidu had about 352,000 customers in the second quarter, up 18 percent from the same period of last year. The average amount of spending jumped 34.8 percent annually to 15,500 yuan (US$2,426).

Li said the company will continue to optimize its sales process and offer advanced tools to help customers market their businesses on the Internet and on mobile Internet devices.

The company kept its dominant position in the US$1.1 billion domestic search market in the second quarter, with a 78.6 percent market share, far ahead of Google China's 15.7 percent.

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