Baidu is China’s largest search engine with a not-so secret mission to dominate the global market, and while most chuckle at the thought of it surpassing Google, one might be surprised to learn the Mountain View, Calif.-based Internet giant lost 7 percent of its search market share to Baidu last month.

According to the well-regarded statistics firm NetMarketShare, Google dropped 7 percent in Desktop Top Search Engine Share Trend in February while Baidu gained a little over 6 percent. Bing, Yahoo, and other competitors remained stagnant. As seen in the chart below the break, Google and Baidu have paralleled each other in terms of share fluctuations since November 2011.

Beijing-headquartered Baidu offers a range of Web services similar to Google, including maps, news, search ranking, e-commerce, Internet TV, a browser, and a smartphone operating system based on Android OS. The firm is adamant about its business not being a Google-clone, though.

Baidu’s Director of International Communications Kaiser Kuo explained to CNN (in the 2010 video above) that CEO Robin Li actually filed a hyperlink analysis patent before Google’s cofounder Larry Page. The filing indicates Baidu envisioned the future of search long before Google dominated cyber space…

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