American software behemoth Microsoft Corp. has this week announced it intends to climb into bed with leading Chinese search platform Baidu as it attempts to expand the reach of Bing.
According to the agreement, Internet users in China will receive the English-language version of Bing as a search option beside Baidu’s mainstay Chinese-language engine before the close of 2011.
“[The deal] will strengthen Baidu’s position in the search market in China,” commented Dong Xu, an analyst for Analysys International, in a Xinhua report.
“And for Microsoft, Baidu’s large traffic also provides a platform for it to promote itself, which will help it gain more users,” he added.
Indeed, Microsoft’s success alongside Baidu may be assured throughout the region, not least because market leader Google pulled out of China last year following a high-profile wrangle about state censorship.
That being said, it remains to be seen exactly how many of China’s 470 million online users will actually seek out and utilise Bing when Baidu already accounts for around 83 percent market usage across the region.
According to online traffic research, some 8.6 percent of Bing’s global user base is currently accessing the search engine from China.