Baidu Buys App Store 91 Wireless for $1.9 Billion

Baidu logoBaidu, China's top search engine, is in the process of making one of the largest ever Internet takeovers in the country's history, with a $1.9 billion purchase of 91 Wireless, an Internet app Store, from NetDragon, Reuters reported.

Apps in China are very popular because of slow Internet download speeds, and the number of active mobile users continues to rise. Apps are even more popular than mobile versions of websites.

More than 10 billion apps have been downloaded via the 91 Wireless marketplace, according to TechCrunch. It also develops their own apps for sale.

Purchasing 91 Wireless will also enable Baidu to work with the various app developers to promote their search offerings to users, as well as to compete with both Alibaba and Tencent.

With heavier competition pressuring Baidu in the search market, using this avenue to increase their search market share, which has been eroding over the past year, will be seen as a huge positive for Baidu.

91 Wireless had become so popular since its launch in 2007 that the owner, NetDragon, had considered spinning off 91 Wireless for its own IPO on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, prior to this purchase. It is currently the third largest distributor of third-party apps in China.

About the author

Jennifer Slegg began as a freelance writer, and turned to search engine optimization and writing content for the web in 1998. She has created numerous content-rich sites in niche markets and works with many clients on content creation, strategy, and monetization. She writes about many search industry and social media topics on her blog, and is a frequent speaker at search industry conferences on SEO, content marketing and content monetization. Acknowledged as the leading expert on the Google AdSense contextual advertising program, she runs JenSense, a blog dealing exclusively with contextual advertising. She is also the founder and editor of The SEM Post. She is known by many as her handle Jenstar on various webmaster forums.