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The Chinese search advertising market is booming, according to new figures from China Computerworld Research.

The company said that spending on major search engine advertising in China reached 1.72 billion yuan ($215 million) in the first six months of 2006, with an increased number of web-savvy Chinese firms taking to online advertising.

As a result, major search engines such as Baidu, Google and Yahoo saw Chinese revenues rise by 52.9 per cent over the period, generating over one billion yuan.

"Development of SEM in China is still in its infancy," the company’s report read. "As there are over 20 million enterprises in China who are potential SEM customers, SEM will experience a significant progress in the future."

Liu Bing told Chinese news agency Xinhua that search engine marketing will continue to grow in China, with 20 million potential customers.

"As search engine advertising develops, the market will expand," he explained.