Baidu Opens Shop In Japan

    March 30, 2007

China’s top search engine has expanded into Japan with the launch of They will face plenty of competition from Yahoo Japan, which has a strong foothold in the market.

”Since our successful listing on NASDAQ in 2005, we have been committed to delivering the best user search experience in Chinese language search and creating exceptional value for our shareholders,” said Robin Li, Baidu’s Chairman and CEO.

”We believe that our proven strength in non-English language search, the high internet penetration in Japan, as well as similarities between the Chinese and Japanese languages make this market an ideal next step for Baidu.”

Baidu has invested $15 million into its Japanese search venture and their current site lacks the functionality of their Chinese site.  They do not yet offer Baidu Spaces blogging service or Baidu news.

Baidu has conducted about six months of research into the development of Japanese language search technology. ”We are confident that Japan’s search engine users will appreciate Baidu’s powerful Japanese language search technology that will offer a user- friendly alternative to existing search engines,” added Mr. Li.

Japan has not been an easy online market to break into; eBay was forced to abandon their auction site there.

One advantage Baidu may have is that most of Japan’s residents have an online presence and advertisers view the market as favorable.

Still it will be a challenging venture for Baidu, as Yahoo Japan owns the Japanese search market with 86 percent of users favoring the site according to NetRatings Japan.