Microsoft has struck a deal with Chinese search giant Baiduto offer its English-language search functions to Chinese users. Baidu has struggled to match Google’s English search capabilities and is expected to introduce Microsoft Bing by the end of the year. However, the version that will have to adhere to the country’s censorship rules. The agreement comes more than a year after Google pulled out of China, largely over disagreements about censorship, and ceded just under half its market share to Baidu.
Baidu commands 83% of the domestic search market in the world’s largest Internet community, with over 470 million users.
The deal gives Microsoft a massive foothold in China for Bing, whose presence is currently negligible.
“It’s a non-trivial matter to build your own index of English pages, so why not partner with someone who already does that well?” said Kaiser Kuo, a spokesman for Baidu. “It’s all about serving the needs of our users.
Kuo said the deal could also make Baidu more competitive in search markets outside of China.
“We’ll learn quite a bit,” he said. “And that certainly will help us venture into other markets with our core search product.”