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Baidu moves to expand search business outside China

Chinese search engine Baidu is working on a multi-language platform for markets outside China, senior vice president Shen Haoyu said on Thursday.

Shen gave few details, but said the company is thinking about what markets it wants to tackle in the future.

“We’re setting up this multi-language platform to get us ready once we decide to go to other markets,” he said at the CHINICT tech conference in Beijing. “We do have global aspirations.”

Baidu dominates its home turf, with a 75.8% share of China’s search engine market, according to Beijing-based research firm Analysys International. Google is a distant second with a 19.2% share.

Baidu has already gone to other markets, launching a search engine in Japan in 2007, but Japan’s search market is still largely controlled by Yahoo and Google.

The Chinese search giant expects that much of its growth over the next decade will come from expansion outside China, according to Shen.

His comments reiterate points made by Baidu CEO Robin Li back in August. Baidu is facing a “window of opportunity” with the international market that it must grab, according to Li.

“We should make this kind of move as early as possible,” he said. “During the next five to 15 years we should see some meaningful revenue outside of China.”