Home China’s Baidu Refocuses on Mobile and Apps

China’s Baidu Refocuses on Mobile and Apps

Baidu is the most-visited website in China and has captured 70% of search revenue in that country. Alexa’s Top 500 Global Sites list puts it at number 6. But with virtually no penetration outside Asia, can it really be considered a global company at all, or just an awfully big one?

Until it reaches beyond its shores in an appreciable and sustained fashion, it probably won’t be considered a global player of consequence. But its latest move may do just that. It is refocusing a great deal of its enormous resources into the mobile and app markets.

At the annual Baidu developers conference yesterday, CFO Jennifer Li reiterated the company’s dedication to the mobile space. The 10-year-old company started focusing on mobile last year with the development of a texting language and mobile mapping. At that point it also established a dedicated mobile department.

As for apps, last night its Box Computing Open Platform went live. The BCOP allows users to run apps, including games, videos and e-books, through the Baidu website using any platform.

A lot of our coverage of China focuses on Google’s issues there. Among those issues are the lack of stability: what can a company or developer expect, day to day? With China’s shifting censorship regime, it is hard to anticipate what might be disallowed. Mobile apps are dependent on the robustness of their developer community.

Will non-Chinese developers be willing to put time and money into developing on Baidu’s platform? Can Chinese developers develop on Baidu for Western users compellingly enough to attract them? Or will the future of China’s global influence be on the Internet of Things, leaving Baidu a strictly Chinese concern?

This isn’t a rhetorical question. We sent it to a couple of our friends with first-hand knowledge of the Chinese web industry. But if you’ve got knowledge of your own, share it why not?

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