Baidu's Q4 profit rockets 77 percent

The Chinese search firm also grew its revenue significantly on increased marketing deals

Baidu's fourth-quarter profit increased 77 percent from a year earlier as its online marketing customers nearly doubled, the Chinese search giant said.

Baidu's profit reached 2.05 billion yuan (US$326.3 million), up from 1.16 billion yuan in the same quarter last year. Its revenue was up by 82.5 percent year over year, to 4.474 billion yuan (US$710.9 million). The results were announced early Friday in China, late Thursday in the U.S.

Baidu dominates search in China with about 80 percent of the market, far ahead of Google and other rivals, according to analytics website CNZZ.com. Baidu's active online marketing customers reached 311,000 in the fourth quarter, up 82.3 percent year over year, the company said.

The strong financial results come after Baidu launched a new, customizable landing page at Baidu.com where users can personalize what they see.

Baidu also partnered with Dell recently to sell a new smartphone in China. The Dell Streak Pro D43 comes installed with Baidu Yi, a Linux-based mobile platform that lets users run Android apps but also connect easily to Baidu's Internet services.

For the first quarter this year, Baidu projects its revenue will increase by 72 percent to 78 percent year over year.

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