Baidu has announced an agreement with Microsoft for powering searches on the top Chinese search engine. This could be a leg up for Microsoft in a market from which Google has chosen to pull out.
"When a Baidu customer enters certain English-language search queries, Baidu will return its normal results, including a section of Bing-powered results in English denoted by a small Bing logo," a Microsoft spokesperson told Search Engine Watch.
The New York Times reports that Baidu has been trying to improve its English language search results, estimating as many as 10 million searches each day are performed in English. Kaiser Kuo, a Baidu spokesperson, told the Times, “More and more people here are searching for English terms, but Baidu hasn’t done a good job. So here’s a way for us to do it.”
Not many comments have been made regarding how Chinese censorship laws will affect what results Bing delivers. Censorship was a major issue with Google's approach to China. Microsoft has, however, said they will operate in a "manner that both respects local authority and culture."
A year after Google pulled out, Microsoft has come to the table to partner with Baidu.
Whilst Google has come and gone in China, they still enjoy an 11% share of Chinese searches. The Chinese Internet market has grown by double-digit percentages over the past five years and is expected to reach over half a billion users by the end of this calendar year. Bing's Chinese share is currently less than 1%.
Is this a good move for Bing or should the search engine follow suit and stay out of China?