Baidu and Bing join forces
Popular Chinese search engine Baidu will soon be providing English-language search results, according to reports.
Baidu's English-language results pages will be powered by Microsoft's Bing search engine. In a statement to Reuters, Baidu clarified that the project will "direct English searches from Baidu to Microsoft's Bing, which will deliver the results back to Baidu's Web pages."
Baidu's main - indeed only - competitor in China is Google. Rows have sprung up repeatedly regarding censorship, culminating in Google closing its offices in China in 2010. Bing, meanwhile, already removes subjects such as political dissidence, Taiwan and pornography from its search results in China.
Which search market?
There are 477 million internet users in China. Baidu claims 75.8 per cent of search volume, while Google takes 19.2 per cent. Conversely, Baidu currently receives negligible US and UK search engine market share. It could prove a lucrative new platform for SEO, but speculation remains over whether the project will target these English-language markets, or simply improve search within China.
On that subject, Baidu assistant president Zhang Dongchen told China Daily that about ten million English-language searches are made on Baidu every day, mainly by professionals and university students in China. However, he also commented that the project would "largely help Baidu to expand into the overseas search market".