The sticky site has attracted a million registered users since Baidu's closed beta launch three months ago.
The site -- which loosely translates as Baidu Talk -- supposedly sets itself apart from existing social sites by verifying user identities. Real names in restrictive China? A hit? Go figure.
The booming popularity of Weibo and the initial success of Baidu Talk may seem foreign -- literally and figuratively -- to stateside investors. After all, Google and Yahoo! have largely flopped when they try to roll out new Web 2.0 sites. They have been left with little choice but to try to acquire dot-com darlings, yet ultimately come up short in their bids for Facebook, Twitter, and most recently Groupon.
Baidu is more "buy" than "do" on that front. It even introduced a Groupon-esque group-buying site a few weeks ago.
Maybe it's the success of China's online giants in Web 2.0 initiatives that attracted Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to visit with the CEOs of both Sina and Baidu in China last week. The world's most populous nation plays favorites, with the government and Chinese consumers typically flocking to homegrown favorites.
Investors should also keep this in mind when evaluating the upside of China's dot-com leaders. They may be geographically limited in their appeal, but their impact could be greater than simply paid search for Baidu and display advertising for Sina. Pair up the China-specific elbowroom and the country's low yet growing Internet penetration rate, and there's more to China's online leaders than you probably think.
Do you think Baidu is a good buy at this point? Share your thoughts in the comment box below.
Google is a Motley Fool Inside Value selection. Baidu and Google are Motley Fool Rule Breakers picks. Sina is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation. The Fool owns shares of Google. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors..
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has only been to China once, but he relishes admiring its dot-com revolution from afar. He does not own shares in any of the stocks in this article. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.