Microsoft Bing to provide English results for Chinese search giant Baidu

Chinese web giant Baidu said on Monday it had reached an agreement with American software giant Microsoft to provide English-language results generated by the US software giant’s Bing search engine.

Some English search requests from Baidu users will be automatically directed to Bing and its results will be displayed in pages in Baidu’s search engine, the Chinese company said in a statement.

“The cooperation between Baidu and Bing will bring into play technological advantages of both parties and jointly provide best search experience for users who need to search in English,” Baidu senior executive Zhang Dongchen said.
The move will also help Baidu to explore the overseas internet search market, Zhang said, without elaborating.

Microsoft appears to have had Baidu on its radar since at least March 2010. In a Q&A session held at Search Marketing Expo in Santa Clara California Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said, “the real force in China isn’t Google and it’s not Bing, it’s Baidu,” before adding that “anybody who wants to be a real competitor’s sort of number one focus will have to be what does it mean to compete effectively, or partner effectively with Baidu”.

Baidu receives around 10-million English-language search requests a day, mostly from professionals and students in major cities, Zhang said.

The Chinese search engine and Bing are expected to start offering the service later this year, the statement said.
Baidu is the dominant search engine in China, the world’s biggest online market with at least 477 million Internet users, according to official data.

Google has lost part of its share of the lucrative Chinese search market to Baidu since the US web giant last year engaged in a very public spat with Beijing over cyber attacks which it claimed had originated from China. The attacks were believed to be part of an attempt by the Chinese government to gain access to the accounts of Chinese human rights activists from around the globe.

China was also claimed to be the point of origin for attacks against the websites of various companies including content management service, WordPress in March this year.

Baidu had a 75.8-percent share of China’s overall search market in the first quarter of 2011, dwarfing Google’s dwindling 19.2 percent, according to figures from research firm Analysys International. The deal with Baidu is expected to help Microsoft make significant gains on Google in the lucrative Chinese search market. –AFP with additional staff reporting.



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