Baidu Readies Instant Messaging Service

    February 29, 2008

People who are counting the ways in which Baidu has beaten Google may soon have to make one more tally mark; reports state that the Chinese giant is testing an instant messaging service.

There aren’t yet any screenshots, release dates, or feature details regarding Baidu Hi, as it’s known.  The name is about all anybody’s got.  But Rick Aristotle Munarriz writes, "According to web information company Alexa, is the second most popular website in China, trailing only Baidu.  Yes, the hot IM platform is getting more traffic than SINA and Google."

Baidu Readies Instant Messaging Service
Haoyu Shen – VP Of Baidu Business Operations

Of course, unless Baidu Hi is in some way special, people might not see a compelling reason to switch from their current service.  On the other hand, since so many instant messaging services blend together, the pull of Baidu’s brand name may be enough.

Haoyu Shen, Baidu’s vice president of business operations, certainly seems to lean in that direction.  "With Baidu’s strengths in creating online communities, and with our suite of popular products such as Baidu Knows, Baidu Post Bar and Baidu Space, we are confident that Baidu Hi will become a strong competitor in China’s IM market," he stated.

Again, we’ve yet to hear a release date for Baidu Hi.  The product has apparently been under development for almost a year, though, so it’s hard to imagine it’ll remain behind the curtain much longer.