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Wednesday, 5 September 2012

China launches own mobile browser, Baidu Explorer, tosses currency into clouds

China’s biggest search engine launches its own mobile browser, Baidu Explorer 

China’s biggest search engine launches its own mobile browser, Baidu Explorer
Baidu Campus, Beijing, China. Image by hwanghsuhui, via Wikimedia Commons
Chinese-language search engine Baidu has decided to try and capture the massive mobile internet market in China by launching its own mobile browser, Baidu Explorer. 
Baidu is already the dominant search engine China, which has 538m online users, but with 388m of these users accessing the internet via mobile phones, the company needs to tap into this vast market.

Other mobile products from Baidu include a mobile operating system that appears on low-cost smartphones the company produces with its manufacturing partners. But, with Baidu Explorer, it hopes to reach other smartphone users. The target, according to Reuters, is to have Baidu Explorer downloaded by 80pc of Android users in China by the end of this year.

Though there is already strong competition in the mobile browser market, Baidu claims its browser is 20pc faster than its rivals based on internal tests. It also has strong HTML5 compatibility and users can run HD video through the browser without having to download additional apps or software.

Hopes for 80 per cent penetration by year-end

China’s search-and-plenty-more giant Baidu has flagged a $US1.6 billion cloud investment. The investment, announced with a minimum of detail by CFO Li Xinzhe, will go towards building data centres and hiring staff.

The Chinese search firm also announced the launch of the Baidu Mobile Browser, which it says is designed to compete with Chrome and Safari. It claims a 20 percent performance boost over its rivals based on internal testing.

Briefing Asian journalists last Friday (August 31), Baidu said its mobile browser can play high-definition video without plugins or extra supporting software, according to Reuters.

The company said it hopes that 80 percent of China’s handsets will run its browser by the end of the year. By some astonishing coincidence, 80 percent is also the search market share the company claims in the Middle Kingdom, in the absence of Google, which has clashed with Chinese authorities over search censorship.

During August, Google’s local partner Qihoo launched its own search service, relegating Google to an “alternative search option”.

The Wall Street Journal says Baidu’s cloud plans include remote online storage, as well as API access to its map service which last month overtook Google Maps in China. ®

By Richard ChirgwinGet more from this author

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