U.S.-traded shares of Baidu.com Inc. jumped Monday following media reports that rival Google Inc. is nearing a decision to close its search engine in China.
China has the world's largest Internet population. Google holds about 35 percent of the country's search market, compared with about 60 percent for Baidu, so Google's exit would be a big boost to the company.
Reports surfaced over the weekend that Mountain View, Calif.-based Google was close to shutting down its China search engine after negotiations over censorship stalled. Google wouldn't comment.
Google had said January it would stop complying with China's censorship rules after it discovered hackers had tricked human-rights activists into exposing their e-mail accounts.
On Friday, China's top Internet regulator said Google must obey the country's laws or "pay the consequences."
Baidu's American Depositary shares rose $36.41, or 6.6 percent, to $586.65 in midday trading. Earlier, the stock hit a 52-week high of $628.50.
Shares of Google, meanwhile, fell $21.20, or 3.7 percent, to $558.34. Google shares have traded between $527.74 and $579.16 since the beginning of March.
© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.