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Google sells stake in Baidu

The Internet search giant wants to concentrate on its own Chinese operations

Google has unloaded its stake in Chinese Internet search company Baidu.

The search giant has sold its 749,625 Baidu shares, which it purchased for $5m (£2.75m), to concentrate on expanding its own operations in China, including Google.cn, Google said in a statement.

"We have disposed of our modest investment in Baidu. It has always been our goal to grow our own successful business in China and we are very focused on that," said a Google spokeswoman.

The US search giant bought its share of Baidu before it launched Google.cn, which has been slammed by human rights groups for censoring search results at the request of the Chinese government.

Google refused to provide any specific details of its plans to expand in China, or say how it would compete with Baidu.

"We tend to make announcements, not forward speculation about plans and developments," said the Google spokeswoman.

According to the Government-approved China Internet Network Information Center, Google lags far behind Baidu in the most common search areas in China — music, pictures, and games.

Google sold its 2.3 percent stake in Baidu for $60m (£33m), according to the Financial Times.

Google shares closed down 0.5 per cent at $399.95 following the sale of the Baidu shares on Thursday.