... looks to build its brand worldwide
Baidu (pic), China's biggest search engine, has quietly and successfully extended services
to other countries in the developing world.
BEIJING, China — Everyone in China knows Baidu — the country’s biggest search engine, its very own, home-grown Google-killer. But outside China it’s far from a household name.
That's something the company wants to change. In a quietly ambitious plan, Baidu is taking its hard-won lessons from the Chinese market abroad in the hopes of becoming a major player the developing world.
In the last year, Baidu has quietly rolled out localized products in Vietnam, Thailand, Egypt, and as of late July, Singapore and Brazil, with new offices being built in Sao Paulo.
So far, most of these are adaptations of Baidu services that cater to older or less sophisticated users. In Brazil, users now can visit a version of Baidu’s Hao123 directory, which features links organized by category — movies, email, weather, sports, shopping, and the like. In Egypt, users can find an Arabic version of Baidu’s question and answer site, “Baidu Knows.” In Vietnam, Baidu offers Hao123 as well as a recently launched version of Tieba, which allows users to search social media.
As a further measure of its seriousness, in July Baidu signed a partnership in Singapore to create a joint research lab on natural language processing for Thai and Vietnamese, as well as Arabic and Portuguese.
While it’s a modest start, Baidu’s billionaire founder, Robin Li says that the goal is to “become a universally recognized brand in over half the world’s countries.”