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Baidu planning world domination

Robin Li, chief of China’s largest search engine Baidu hopes to have expanded his company across the world in less than five years. He made the statement at a recent meeting and posted it onto the company’s website with the blessing of China’s propaganda chief.

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“Robin Li reported on Baidu’s target for the next decade to become a household name in more than half the countries around the world and represent Chinese businesses to influence global economies.”

While Baidu may have a large stake in the Asian markets (a 75 percent local market share), companies such as Yahoo! and Google dominate the global search engine game.

Jeremy Goldkorn from research firm Danwei said:

This has been a push of the Chinese government for years now, making Chinese companies go global. Perhaps their idea is that they stand the most chance of success in non-anglophone markets where there are repressive governments. They can position themselves as something that is not American, and therefore less likely to be hostile.

China has the largest internet population in the world, coming in around at 485-million people. Whichever search engine dominates this market, therefore, would become a global leader by default.

Baidu’s next move is towards Egypt and Thailand where it has already made inroads by releasing specific sites for each region. The sites are not mirrors of the familiar Baidu structure, though, with the Thailand site appearing to be a web directory of sorts and the Egyptian site using a question and answer structure which has been modelled after the Baidu Knows product.

Baidu recently became embroiled in a governmental clampdown regarding its corporate structure. Along with other companies like Sina, Baidu has been in hot water after listing its stocks overseas in an attempt to overcome certain restrictions, with non-Chinese investors gaining financial control of certain areas of the company.