Baidu Backs Out Of Expansion Plans?

    June 8, 2007

Rumor had it that Baidu would expand into Europe.  Now the Chinese search engine company has announced that it will not, and this reversal has caught more than a few people by surprise.

The initial word of Baidu’s growth was actually less rumor than report – two writers at the Telegraph stated, “Chief financial officer Shawn Wang is expected to outline the group’s expansion plans in London later this month, when the company attends its first Nasdaq investor day since listing on the exchange in 2005.”

But in the week or so following that article’s publication, a number of reasons have been brought up as to why Baidu might fail in Europe.  And aside from logical and factual issues, some onlookers bear the company a bit of a grudge – its censorship in China has arguably been more pervasive (and certainly longer-lasting) than that which has been employed by Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft.

You have to wonder if all the naysaying changed Baidu’s mind, but the company’s not about to admit to such a thing.  Baidu issued a statement saying, “Recent rumors alleging that is expanding into Europe are groundless.”  Credit goes to Sumner Lemon of the IDG News Service for relaying that statement.

So it looks like the Chinese giant will stay within the Great Wall (and Japan’s borders) for the time being, and the imagined search engine free-for-all in Europe will not take place.  Oh, well.  Maybe some other time.