Baidu Announced New Mobile Services

Earlier this month, Baidu’s major rival Google launched a Chinese-language voice search service, which can help Chinese users use Google’s existing search services via mobile phones. To compete with Google, Chinese search engine Baidu Inc launched two services for mobile users, in order to gain an share in the world’s largest mobile pie. Mobile Internet users in the country reached 192 million by the end of September this year, an increase of 62.7 percent year-on-year, and the number of computer-based Internet users grew to 360 million during the same period, according to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

Baidu’s client software combines search and other functions it offers on the PC Internet. With this software, mobile users can access search services much faster than WAP browsers, Baidu said. It also announced a new mobile software input method, designed by its earlier acquired Shanghai-based DayHand Networks Co Ltd, a mobile software company.

“Input method may not be a profit-generator, but users tend to have high loyalty to software of this kind, and companies are able to segmentalise customers better,” said Fang Li, an analyst with research firm Analysys International.

“Google has two main mobile services, Web search and Google Maps. It is trying to improve its brand recognition among users by perfecting its main services,” said Fang.

“Baidu, as a home-grown company, has already made its mark and is now focusing on diversified mobile services,” Fang said. “That’s why it has come out with its own input method.”

Last month Baidu signed a partnership with China Unicom to provide wireless search for the carrier’s 3G mobile subscribers. It was going to continue its cooperation with telecom carriers and other players.

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