People can’t stop breathlessly following Bing’s core search share in the US and across the world. Every fraction of a percentage point that Bing gains over Google and Yahoo is noted, analyzed and digested like it was a sports statistic. For instance, Bing is reported to be growing at a faster pace each month than the month before. In December, Bing took an additional half percentage point to bob close to an 11% market share. Following the search engine share battle very closely is serious business; why then should these statistics close the club to Google, Yahoo and Bing? Why ignore the elephant in the living room, namely,China’s Baidu?

Google has been in the news (and when hasn’t it) this past week for holding its ground in taking the moral high road in not submitting to China’s demands in censorship. Google’s announced pullout from China has earned it quite a shine for its reputation. It’s dignified walkout in China has done more for its business than just earn it a good name though. China’s Baidu search engine is no longer just a Google copycat making do with scraps in the dark. Baidu happens to be bigger even than Bing, and will easily soon overtake Yahoo to be number two after Google. Baidu now has 20% of the search market worldwide, not just in China.

If you really want to tabulate search market shares, how can you do it when you ignore the soon-to-be number-two player? With China’s search market losing Google, the market share that is now up for grabs iss already being carved up by other local Chinese players in search. China’s Internet businesses seem set to become great competition to Google for everything on the Internet, valuable Internet company acquisitions included. The other American search companies hardly seem primed for aggressive market positioning anyway. The fear now is that,China could end up owning valuable Internet properties in the US, and that that would be a blow to Internet freedom.