BEIJING: The Chinese online advertising market registered a growth rate of 2.9% in the first half of this year, taking it to a total value of 8.35 billion yuan ($1.2bn; €857m; £749m) over this period, a new study has revealed.

According to figures from the Data Center of the China Internet, web advertising expenditure actually declined by 18.3%, to 3.48 billion yuan, in the country during the first quarter of 2009.

This result was largely said to be attributable to unfavourable comparisons caused by the staging of Olympic Games in Beijing last year, alongside the impact of the financial crisis on the sector.

By contrast, the medium recorded an improvement of 39.9%, to 4.87 billion yuan, from April to June, helped by the improving economic climate in the world's most populous nation.

Search advertising posted an uptick of 29.9% in the opening six months of 2009, while display ads were up by 7.5% in this same timeframe.

DCCI also found that Baidu was responsible for 81.9% of all searches conducted by Chinese web users in H1, followed by Google and Sohu, in second and third places respectively.

Data sourced from TMCNet/Marbridge Consulting; additional content by WARC staff