Baidu – is it opening up to the UK?

by Sally Kavanagh

There is no doubt that Baidu, the Chinese language search engine is making moves westwards.  It seems Baidu’s revenue has fallen in recent years and this has been cited as a possible reason.  On the other hand you could say it just makes sense for Baidu to capitalise on its technology and to exploit is access to its 70-80% share of the huge Chinese onine market.

At the end of February, Baidu announced is English language web site for developers and it looks like this is part of Baidu’s effort to maintain its dominance in the Chinese mobile market in the face of competition from other Chinese competitors such as Qihoo.

Another development is Baidu’s approach to leading brands in the west to partner with Baidu as advertisers.  A launch event is being held in London on March 18th.

So what does this mean for UK business looking to gain visibility in the Chinese search engine?  It certainly looks as though Baidu is planning to open up more to the English speaking world.  Currently Baidu is a Chinese language only engine and sites need to be translated into simplified Chinese and also it hard to impossible to get rankings if the site is not hosted in China.

Baidu does offer paid listings – the PPC model.  It is not as straightforward to sign up as with Google or Bing and there is a minimum spend of $2000 a month, but might offer a very interesting way of testing the Chinese market before investing larger sums on the ground.  More information at http://www.chinasearchint.com/en/why-baidu/getting-started

Baidu could prove an interesting area for SEO in the near future as China’s rapid development means it is looking more and more to Western markets to expand into.

 


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