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July 5, 2011

Baidu partners Microsoft to process English search queries

Advertising revenue, control of site to remain with Baidu

By CBR Staff Writer

Chinese search engine company Baidu has teamed up with Microsoft’s Bing to avail its service to provide English-language search results.

Baidu, which currently has a market share of over 75% of China’s search market, was established in 2000 by co-founders, Robin Li and Eric Xu. It is registered in the Cayman Islands.

As per the new partnership, English search queries on Baidu will be re-directed to Bing.

Advertising revenue generated from search will remain with Baidu. However, the deal also marks the entry of Microsoft into the biggest Internet market in the world.

Baidu, which is planning its service in 12 international languages, said that it expected the service to start later this year.

Online companies such as Facebook and Twitter are blocked in China and search engine company Google was forced to move its offices from China to HongKong last year.

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Bing owns less than 1% market share in China. Google still holds 19.6% of the search market in China, but the company has been embroiled in controversies with Chinese authorities in the recent past.

Last month, China accused Google of provoking a new dispute between China and the US, after the search engine company said that data theft from its databases had been traced to China.

The Chinese Communist Party’s main newspaper, the People’s Daily, said in its foreign edition, "Google’s accusations against China are fictitious and have ulterior motives and sinister intentions."

It also threatened the company that its business could suffer if it continues to say that the Chinese government was targeting the emails of United States’ officials.

"Google should not become overly embroiled in international political struggle, playing the role of a tool for political contention," the paper added.

"For when the international winds shift direction, it may become sacrificed to politics and will be spurned by the marketplace," it said.

The new partnership between Baidu and Bing also shows the difference between Microsoft’s strategy for China and that of Google’s.

Microsoft seems to rely on local partners for growth in China, while Google guards its independence.

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