Last year, after Google declined to succumb to the pressure from the government in China and modify its privacy and censorship aspects, local search engine Baidu saw a huge increase in the number of users. At present, the search engine holds 80% of the market share in the most populated country of the world.
Apple is looking forward to incorporate Baidu directly into the iPhone specifically for China and engulf the user-base that the search engine enjoys. According to two reliable sources who wished to remain anonymous, the addition of many tools including Baidu on the iPhone would be announced in the WorldWide Developers Conference (WWDC) to be held in San Fransisco from June 11th to June 15th.
According to Joshua Maa from Madhouse Inc., a Shanghai-based advertising company, this incorporation would not only help Apple to appeal to a wider group of consumers but also favor Baidu in many ways, one of them being the consequent push Baidu’s business in advertising would get after its inclusion in the web tools of the iPhone. Baidu’s search engine can also act as an alternative to the primary Google search engine. After being responsible for single-handedly driving the PC’s search engine adaptability in China, Baidu hopes to connect more and more users to the internet through smartphones.
According to Analysis International, on the base of revenue, Baidu held 78.5% of the search engine market compared to Google’s meagre 16.6%. Tim Cook had commented earlier that China’s ever-growing market provides the company with more opportunities to team up with more number of network service providers and distributors to put the iPhone and other Apple devices in the hands of a million of middle-class Chinese citizens.
This move to incorporate Baidu and sideline Google comes as no surprise after Apple decided to have its own mapping application and not rely on Google Maps anymore in the upcoming iOS devices. Spokesperson from all of the three companies involved either unavailable or refused to comment on Apple’s step and Google’s future in China.
The disagreement between the Chinese government and Google in 2010 has been highly beneficial for Baidu. Since then, Google has discontinued www.google.cn and has been directing all its traffic from China to the Hong Kong servers.
In this year’s Q2, Apple went on to triple its sales in China, making the nation’s market its biggest overseas. As a move to appeal to the Chinese users, Apple added Baidu to the existing Mac OSX.