Baidu May Emerge In Europe

    June 4, 2007

Baidu owns a huge share of the Chinese search market, despite attacks from Google and Yahoo.  That success is likely due to its home field advantage.  We may soon find out how Baidu will fare outside the Great Firewall, however, as reports indicate that the company may expand into Europe.

There’s no official word yet – the official announcement is supposed to come within the next month, according to an article from the Telegraph.  But “Baidu has generated a massive non-English language following and is now the world’s fifth largest search engine,” so, in some ways, it appears that such a venture is guaranteed a certain level of success.

The Telegraph’s Juliette Garside and Mark Kleinman went on to quote Daryl Arnold, Profero’s “Far East-based” chief executive, and Arnold even seemed to feel that Baidu’s move into Europe might be part of a trend.  “The pressure is on for a lot of showcase Chinese businesses to show they can compete in other markets,” he stated.

So, will Baidu succeed?  Without the Chinese government censoring its competitors – and without its skills in dealing with the Chinese language – the search engine may not have a lot left to offer.  Garside and Kleinman point to its search results, which are targeted at younger users, but even if Baidu is clearly superior to Google, Yahoo, and the rest, it will have a lot of ground to make up.

This experiment could, at least, lead to some more “interesting” commercials.  And it’ll also be worth seeing how other search engines respond to Baidu’s presence – after being so badly beaten in China, will they try to return the favor in Europe?  Baidu’s corporate leaders may want to be careful.