Two Chinese Internet Powerhouses Strike Partnership
July 31, 2012

Two Chinese Internet Powerhouses Strike Partnership

Lee Rannals for — Your Universe Online

Two of China's Internet giants are teaming up to share mobile search results and content between their platforms.

Baidu, the country's main search engine, is partnering with Sina, which run's the country's most popular micro-blogging social network service.

Under the deal, Sina plans to integrate Baidu search into its mobile site, while Baidu will have a cloud service with Sina's preinstalled social network app, Weibo.

The companies plan to work together to offer users a "better, richer mobile browsing experience."

"Sina's Weibo is such an important source now of content - it's really the pulse of the nation - that for Baidu being able to index the content and make it accessible to users is a fairly important way of keeping its edge in search," Duncan Clark, chairman of consultancy BDA China, told the BBC.

"The smaller screen size of mobiles compared to desktop computers and laptops is a challenge. But innovations in location-based and community functions might unlock the potential."

Baidu holds about 80 percent of China's online search market share. In May, the company made its first move into the mobile market by releasing a low-cost smartphone.

Both companies have said that mobile platforms are vital to their futures. In May 2012, Sina Weibo said the majority of its 300 million users were on mobile devices, and not PCs.

Baidu CEO Robin Li said back in February that the company is fixating its focus on the mobile market.

The new deal is similar to the now-expired agreement between Google and Twitter to display tweets in realtime search results. However, Baidu and Sina's deal moves beyond that, because they announced real-time microblog results back in March.

Yue Guofeng, vice president of Baidu´s mobile and cloud division, said his company is pursuing an "open, cooperative and win-win policy" for mobile search. He said in a statement that the new partnership should raise the bar for interaction in the mobile Internet world.

Baidu, which posted $859 million in revenue last quarter, also struck a deal with Apple to support its search engine on Safari on the latest Macintosh operating system, OS X Mountain Lion. The Chinese search engine will also be on mobile Safari through the upcoming iOS 6.