If you're hungry for good news in this sorry market, just check out the booming Web surfing trends in China.

Nielsen Online is teaming up with the operator of ChinaRank to offer traffic insight into China's fast-growing Internet market. Now that China has more than 250 million people online, gauging the country's Web pulse is critical.

It shouldn't surprise you to find Baidu.com (NASDAQ:BIDU) on top, when it comes to both overall traffic and the lucrative search engine niche. It's the list after that where things get interesting.


Unique Browsers


171 million


117 million


108 million


81 million


74 million


58 million

Source: CR-Nielsen, Sept. 8-14, 2008.

Surprised to see Google not even fit to be bronzed? Well, Google is still a distant second when it comes to serving up search engine queries, but this table is about overall website popularity. Tencent runs QQ, the ubiquitous IM platform

SINA, Sohu, and NetEase run thriving online portals, though NetEase is relying mostly on the success of its online gaming empire to drive profits higher these days.

Nielsen is also breaking out traffic rankings for finance and video-sharing sites. China Finance Online (NASDAQ:JRJC) only clocks in at ninth and 10th for its JRJ and Stockstar sites, respectively, but combined it would be good enough for China Finance Online to come in tied for fifth. Perhaps most importantly to China Finance Online bulls -- like myself -- the company's financial sites are growing quickly as premium subscription sites, unlike the free, ad-supported portals that typically draw more traffic.

Either way, it's great to have another Web tracking firm to lean on in researching China's intriguing Internet story. With China's development still in its early stages -- after all, 250 million people online means that over a billion people in China are not -- this should be one of the more dynamic sectors to bounce back when the market turns around.

Baidu has more than doubled since being singled out to Rule Breakers readers two years ago. Google and NetEase are other Breaker picks. SINA is a recommendation for Stock Advisor subscribers. Why are you missing out on these great stock picks? The answer may be waiting in free 30-day passes to either or both of the newsletters.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has been a fan of China's growth stocks for several years now, even though he does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. 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.