One of Google China’s main competitors in the Chinese search industry,, has reported a nearly four-fold increase in revenue for the 4th quarter of 2005. They attribute the increase to both a rise in search traffic, and an increase in search advertising. Income rose to $14.2 million, with $13.8 million coming from search marketing, exceeding last October’s predictions. By the end of December, Baidu had 63,000 marketing customers.

“We are pleased that Baidu has achieved another quarter of strong revenue and earnings growth despite increased efforts by our peers in the Chinese language search market,” said Baidu CEO Robin Li in an earnings statement. “The strength of the Baidu brand has helped us further enhance our market leadership position in 2005. We are proud to have won the confidence of millions of Chinese search users.”

China is one of the largest search advertising markets in the world. Baidu claims to be China’s most used search engine, and it’s the 4th most visited site in the world, according to Alexa. Baidu expects to generate about $15-16 million in the first quarter of 2006.