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Baidu.com Inc., which operates China's leading search engine, said Monday that its fourth-quarter profit more than tripled to surpass Wall Street expectations, sending shares higher in after-hours trading.

While Google Inc. has become synonymous with Web searches in the U.S., Baidu dominates the Chinese market. The research firm Analysys International says that as of September, Baidu's market share is 73 percent.

The Beijing company's profit soared to 1.16 billion yuan ($175.9 million), or 3.32 yuan per American depositary share, during the December quarter. That compares with year-earlier earnings of 427.9 million yuan, or 1.23 yuan per ADS.

Excluding share-based compensation, the company earned 52 cents per share. Analysts expected 47 cents per share, according to FactSet.

Revenue nearly doubled to 2.45 billion yuan ($371.3 million). Analysts predicted $350.3 million.

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