Baidu Drives ADR Gain on 60% E-Commerce Growth Estimate

Chinese stocks in the U.S. climbed to the highest this year as Baidu Inc., owner of the nation’s biggest Internet search engine, said the country’s e-commerce industry was growing at six times the pace in the U.S.

The Bloomberg China-US Equity Index of the most-traded Chinese stocks in the U.S. advanced 1.4 percent to 105.09 in New York. Beijing-based Baidu surged 5.8 percent to the highest since its August 2005 New York listing and Sina Corp., owner of China’s biggest Twitter-like service, surged the most since November. Yingli Green Energy Holding Co. and Trina Solar Ltd. gained more than 11 percent.

Annual growth of online commerce in China is about 60 percent, compared with 10 percent in the U.S., Baidu Chief Executive Officer Robin Li said at a press conference in Beijing yesterday. Baidu agreed in August to pay $160 million for 59 percent of e-commerce service Nuomi Holdings Inc. and said in July it would pay $1.85 billion for 90 Wireless Websoft Ltd., China’s most popular third-party store for smartphone applications, as it accelerates its push to mobile devices.

“Baidu is the biggest traffic dealer, that’s how they make money,” Tian X. Hou, the founder of T.H. Capital LLC, said by phone from New York. “China’s Internet is growing. E-commerce indirectly benefits Baidu because they need traffic acquisitions.”

The iShares China Large-Cap ETF, the largest Chinese exchange-traded fund in the U.S., added 1.1 percent to $35.38. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index gained 0.2 percent to an all-time high as data showed jobless claims fell to the lowest level in three months and investors watched developments in Ukraine.

Smartphone Users

Baidu jumped to $184.64, extending its weekly advance to 8 percent. The company is investing in apps for mapping and search services as it competes against Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Tencent Holdings Ltd. for China’s 618 million Internet customers. Li’s estimate for a 10 percent growth in the U.S. e-commerce market compares with a projection for a 15 percent expansion this year by researcher EMarketer Inc.

In China, the company accounted for almost four-fifths of search engine queries in the fourth quarter, according to Bloomberg Industries. Mobile-phone Internet users in China increased 19 percent last year to 500 million, according to a report by China Internet Network Information Center.

Sina jumped 8.5 percent to $73.44, trimming its slump this year to 13 percent.

Solars Surge

Yingli, the world’s biggest solar-panel maker, climbed 12 percent to $6.78, with trading volume triple the 90-day average, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The company said March 4 that shipments of photovoltaic modules increased as much as 12 percent in the fourth quarter from the previous period, topping a prior forecast.

Trina, China’s second-largest photovoltaic panel maker, soared 12 percent to $18.19, the highest since August 2011. Manz AG, a Reutlingen, Germany-based engineering firm, said that it sees rapidly growing retail market for solar cells and expects overcapacity to disappear.

The Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.3 percent to 2,059.58 while the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index of mainland stocks traded in Hong Kong added 0.1 percent to 9,672.98.

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