Baidu.com, Inc. (ADR) (NASDAQ:BIDU) continues to court naysayers.
There were 15.5 million shares of China’s leading search engine sold short as of June 14. That may not seem like a big number, but when you consider Baidu.com, Inc. (ADR) (NASDAQ:BIDU)’s share price, we’re talking about nearly $1.5 billion betting against the company.
Baidu.com, Inc. (ADR) (NASDAQ:BIDU) has seen its number of shares sold short nearly triple over the past year, and the mid-June mark tops the record of 13.9 million shares being held short at the end of May.
Why are so many investors down on Baidu.com, Inc. (ADR) (NASDAQ:BIDU) these days? The emergence of Qihoo 360 Technology Co Ltd (NYSE:QIHU) as an alternative search engine has been the biggest contributor to Baidu’s downfall.
The Web browser and security software specialist has turned heads since rolling out its own search platform last summer. Despite the stock running up in response — Qihoo shares have nearly tripled over the past year — the push higher has helped shake loose some of the skeptics. Qihoo 360’s short interest has fallen from 14.8 million to 17.9 million over the past two months!
Baidu.com, Inc. (ADR) (NASDAQ:BIDU) would love to trigger that kind of short squeeze.
Naturally a good way to get that started would be to start gaining market share in search again. Qihoo 360’s growth has come primarily at the expense of smaller players, but investors would be comforted by seeing either Baidu.com, Inc. (ADR) (NASDAQ:BIDU)’s market share grow or Qihoo 360’s growing piece of the market take a step back.