BEIJING:, China's most popular internet search engine, has launched its own consumer auction website, with the aim of making it the biggest such business in the country within the next three years.

The new service,, recorded four million page views on its first day of operation, and currently has almost two million items on sale. 

Taobao is currently China's premier online auction system, and offers its services for free, having been established by Hangzhou-based e-commerce specialists Alibaba in 2003.

However, Baidu stated that its new offering “would” overtake Taobao by 2011, which will also mean overcoming US giant eBay.

Baidu posted net profits of 629 million yuan ($92.1m; €72.3; £56.9m) in 2007, up 108% year-on-year, with its revenues totalling 1.74 billion yuan for the year.

Data sourced from China People's Daily; additional content by WARC staff