The chief financial officer of Baidu.com told CNBC that the China-focused Internet search firm is in the initial phases of a long-term growth story.
"Right now there are about 140 million Internet users in China -- that's roughly an 11% market penetration, so we're still at a very early stage," said CFO Shawn Wang.
"We only served less than 1% of the potentially addressable market," he said. "E-commerce transactions in China haven't really started to happen yet, and that's where the real growth story starts."
Wang said he wasn't sure how long it would be before the Chinese e-commerce market gains traction but estimated that it's likely to take less than five years.
"It will be a gradual process where we will see more and more of China's companies start to understand and embrace the Internet," he said. "There is a lot of potential for us to grow."
Baidu.com, the largest search engine in China with a 62% share of the country's market, recently set its sights on Japan with the launch of Baidu.jp last March.
Baidu's mainland competitors include Internet portals Netease, Sina and Sohu.