Baidu.com

Touted as the Chinese equivalent of American search giant Google, Baidu was founded in a hotel room overlooking Beijing University's campus in 1999.

Baidu is the No. 1 online search engine in China.

Touted as the Chinese equivalent of American search giant Google, Baidu was founded in a hotel room overlooking Beijing University's campus in 1999 by Robin Li and Eric Xu. The company's own site--Baidu.com--was started in September 2001 and offered advertising space on its site before Google did.

Despite fierce competition from search giants Google and Yahoo in its home turf, Baidu still dominates the Internet search space in China.

The Chinese search giant, which garners lots of its traffic from a service that tracks and links to MP3s, continues to battle the problem of illegal music downloads. In March this year, it was sued by Chinese music industry group Music Copyright Society over alleged copyright violation.

Baidu.com ranks among ZDNet Asia's Top 10 fastest-growing companies for 2008/2009.