BEIJING: The Chinese online advertising market is growing at an annual rate of over 50%, data from Analysys International has suggested.

The think tank said that $2.2bn was spent on the channel during the first quarter of 2012, up +56% from the same period the year before.

Within this total, search engine Baidu took an overall ad market share of 30.9%, making it the nation's most-lucrative website by far.

Alibaba, the e-retailer, and Google, the search engine, came second and third, on 17.9% and 6.5% respectively.

Collectively, Chinese-owned portals Sohu, Sina, Tencent and Netease took a share of around 12% during the three-month period.

Despite the rapid year-on-year growth, the amount spent on internet advertising during the first quarter was 5.6% lower than in Q4 2011.

Dong Xu, an analyst at Analysys International, talking to the Xinhua news agency, attributed this quarterly decline to seasonal factors.

Over the next few months, online adspend growth rates will be boosted by external factors such as the summer Olympic Games, Dong added.

These latest results come alongside the release of Warc's Consensus Ad Forecast, which predicts that Chinese internet adspend will grow by almost 35% in 2012.

Data sourced from Xinhua/Warc; additional content by Warc staff