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Baidu unveils new mobile software platform

05 сентября 2011

Chinese search engine Baidu Inc. Friday flagged its interest in acquisition opportunities while unveiling a new software platform that will intensify its competition with Google Inc. while using its U.S. rival's Android mobile phone operating system.

Baidu is expanding its mobile service offerings and trying to attract more users, including customers with Android, as it aims to fuel revenue growth outside of computer-based Web-search advertising.

The Baidu software, called Baidu Yi, will be pre-installed on mobile phones. It will allow mobile phone users to access Baidu services. For instance, a user reading an e-book on a smartphone might be able to click on a word in the book to perform a Baidu Web search for it, a Baidu spokesman said.

The platform is compatible with Android now and in the future it will be compatible with other operating systems, Baidu Vice President Jing Wang said in an interview.

Baidu isn't excluding the possibility of releasing its own operating system at some later date, Wang said.

Wang declined to name any handset makers that could preinstall the software on phones or to say when the phones could be released.

Chief Financial Officer Jennifer Li said it was too early to discuss generating revenue from the platform, though Wang said it will be an "important piece" of Baidu's revenue in the future.

A Google spokesperson wasn't immediately available for comment.

Li said Baidu is interested in acquisitions and in investments in sectors including online video if it finds appropriate opportunities. In June Baidu announced a $306 million investment in Chinese travel website Qunar.com Information Technology Co. to make it Qunar's majority shareholder.

Baidu on Friday also announced a new Internet homepage design with added features including an area for app downloads. Users can customize the Baidu homepage to display certain apps, links to websites they like and new content posted on third-party social-networking websites. The move builds on Baidu's "box computing" strategy to offer more special services and content directly on its website.

Baidu has overtaken much of Google's share of the local search market since the U.S. company moved its China search engine to Hong Kong last year because of concerns about censorship and hacking in China.

Baidu had a 75.9% share of revenue in China's online-search market in the second quarter, while Google's share was 18.9%, according to estimates by Beijing research firm Analysys International.

Источник: Total Telecom

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