China's search engine usage grew slower than in the other major search markets in 2009 and fell considerably below the global, overall growth rate, according to comScore.
Like in 2008, China ranked second in the world behind the U.S. in terms of search queries made by its residents last year, but finished last in query growth among the 10 countries with the largest search usage.
Chinese residents ran 13.3 billion search queries in 2009, up only 13 percent from 2008. By comparison, queries grew 46 percent worldwide.
Japan, which grew its queries 48 percent to 9.2 billion, came in third like in 2008, but closed the gap with China. The U.S. ranked first with 22.7 billion queries, up 22 percent.
The U.K. came in fourth with 6.2 billion queries, up 35 percent, followed by Germany, France, South Korea, Brazil, Canada and the Russian Federation.
Unsurprisingly, Google topped the list of search engines, handling almost 67 percent of global queries -- almost 88 billion -- and growing its usage by 58 percent.
Last week, Google dropped a bomb when it disclosed that a China-originated hack had compromised some of its intellectual property and the Gmail accounts of some activists for human rights in China. As a response, Google plans to stop censoring search results in China, even if it means exiting that search market. Discussions between Google and the Chinese government are ongoing.
Yahoo ranked a distant second with 9.4 billion queries, up only 13 percent from 2008. Chinese search engine Baidu came in third with 8.5 billion queries, up just 7 percent.
Microsoft ranked fourth with 4.1 billion queries, a robust 70 percent increase over 2008, which comScore credits to the introduction of its Bing search engine in mid-2009.
EBay was fifth with 2.1 billion queries, up 58 percent, and was followed by NHN Corp., Yandex, Facebook, Ask.com and Alibaba.