In a move that shows that (NASDAQ:BIDU) is willing to break the mold established by its stateside counterparts, China's leading search engine has won governmental approval to launch an online news portal.

That is a sharp contrast from the approach that Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO) have chosen. Google News is a useful aggregator of news, culling top stories from 4,500 different sources. Yahoo! News isn't as slick, mostly tapping AP headlines for its main page.

Baidu's editorial endeavors will bear watching. Beyond the concerns of scribing under a highly vigilant government, success would translate into even more pages on which to serve contextual advertising. Baidu's permit will also be a competitive advantage, as the government should be more critical of any foreign search engines looking to follow suit.

For now, most of the licenses have been granted to more conventional Internet portal operators like SINA (NASDAQ:SINA) and Sohu (NASDAQ:SOHU). With China's economy growing four times faster than our own -- and the Olympics coming to Beijing next year -- making a mark as a Chinese news source seems like a no-brainer approach to latch on to incremental profits.

This isn't to say that Baidu needs any performance-enhancing side projects -- it's doing pretty well on its own. Profits for all of 2006 are expected to have grown fivefold, with analysts looking for an 82% surge this year.

Start spreading the news, Baidu.

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Yahoo! and SINA are Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendations.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has been to mainland China just once, but he's longing to brush up on Mandarin and make another go in the future. He does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story. Rick 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.