Back in May 2010, we reported a rumor that Microsoft and Baidu were to reach a search deal in China. Today, Microsoft China officially announced the search partnership between the companies, where Microsoft will provide all English-language search results for Baidu’s search engine. According to the official MSN China blog post, when a user enters an English-language input into Baidu’s search box, it will automatically activate Bing to send its search results to Baidu through its open API. This is expected to take effect later this year.
According to the official statement:
[The partnership will] allow Baidu to improve its English-language search services as it seeks to push into the international search market, while giving Microsoft’s Bing better access to China’s more than 450 million Internet users.
Certainly this is good news for Microsoft, as the Chinese search market is one place where Google does not dominate. Baidu currently owns 76% of Chinese search market, and by partnering with Baidu, Microsoft is essentially gaining access to all 450 million Internet users in China. Further, with Google’s stale relationship with the Chinese government over a year ago, it seems unlikely they will gain a strong foothold in the Chinese market in the near future, and this gives the perfect chance creating for Bing to grow a stronger presence in this market.
It’s also worth noting that Microsoft and Baidu entered into a strategic partnership back in 2006, when Bing wasn’t even around. This previous agreement was centered around Baidu’s paid search listings, allowing them to appear on the search results pages of the Chinese versions of Microsoft sites such as MSN and Live Search (which is now Bing).
(Thanks to Picturepan2 at LiveSino.net for the heads up!)