Baidu Goes Wireless in Japan
Baidu announced that it has launched a new mobile search service in Japan. The company says Baidu Japan wireless search will build upon the existing Baidu.jp services, which include web search, image search, and video search, and have special features tailored to Japanese users.
The company has already been offering wireless search in its home country China. There, it has partnerships with carriers and all of the major handset manufacturers.
"We are very excited to launch wireless search in Japan, where we believe there is huge demand for a high quality wireless search service," said Xuyang Ren, Baidu’s Vice President of Marketing and Business Development. "With the launch of this beta wireless search service we hope to give users in Japan a convenient tool for finding the information they need. We look forward to developing this service further and tuning it to user preferences over the coming months."
Baidu is bigger than Google in China. In fact, the gap between the two is even widening. A recent report from PCWorld says that Google’s share of the online search market in China has slipped this year and will continue to do so (via a government report). PCWorld reports:
Google, which has struggled to steal market share in China from dominant local rival Baidu, was the first-choice search engine for just 12.7 percent of search users at the end of last month, a fall of 3.9 percentage points from last year, according to a report by the China Internet Network Information Center, China’s domain registration agency. The same figure for Baidu was 77.2 percent, up 0.3 percentage points, it said.
Only 6% of searchers in China have even tried Microsoft’s Bing according to the same report.
Baidu expanded into Japan in early 2007 with the launch of Baidu.jp, although the move was not without its criticism.
According to Baidu, 3G licenses were first granted in Japan in 2001 and soon afterwards 3G became the main platform for wireless applications. "Today, Japan’s 3G user base has surpassed 100 million, over 90% of the country’s population, and wireless Internet is widely used, with more than 80% of Internet users logging on wirelessly," the company says.