Almost half of the Chinese internet users questioned in a survey considered Google's search results to be more useful and accurate than Baidu's.
More than 2,700 participants were shown several pages of internet search results in various subject areas, without being told which search engine had produced the results.
They were then asked to rate the results for attributes including accuracy and relevance to the search query.
More than 48 per cent of respondents picked Google search pages as the most accurate. Baidu was favoured by 39.8 per cent, while most of the remainder ranked them equally. A quarter ranked Google's results as 'much better' than Baidu's.
Baidu trailed behind Google in all subject areas, except MP3 search. Google does not offer a specific MP3 file search service in China. Baidu's MP3 search service has attracted legal action from copyright holders.
China-based consultancy Pacific Epoch said in a summary of local news reports that leading Chinese news source Sina.com had "censored" its "pro-Google" story about the search survey after " controversial comments" from its users.
A search of Sina's news website by vnunet.com uncovered two stories about the survey, but with no comments attached.
Baidu's success is a source of pride to some Chinese internet users. Anecdotal reports from China suggest that some Chinese web users use Baidu rather than Google because it is a Chinese firm, not because they believe the search results are better.
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