Baidu extends to Brazil !
July 18th, Baidu announced that it was launching its search engine in the next biggest developing country : Brazil. The day before, Baidu founder and CEO Robin Li was in Brasilia at the same time as the Chinese President Xi Jinping who was meeting the Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff. On the dot !
What to expect ?
« Baidu Busca » is therefore the Portuguese language version of Baidu. It does not have all the same feature yet but covers the Web, Images, Videos and even an equivalent of its forum Baidu Tieba named Postbar.
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What we learned during this introduction was that the Brazilian version has several features that are not available in the Chinese version. Part of it, a smart searchbox that predict queries and shows preview shots of top results while typing, an open content platform with several local partners, and some interactive elements like the ability for users to “like” their favorite athletes and celebrities (like on Facebook).
Baidu spokesperson Kaiser Kuo said during the launching of Baidu Busca : « This is just the beginning of what we anticipated, it will be a long road that’s going to require patience and determination. One thing we’re doing is focusing on more local development. Right now most of what you see has been developed in Beijing. But we’re now talking to local universities and are planning to build a R&D center in Brazil focused on Big Data and improving UX in a highly localized way. Thai and Arabic on the way ».
The future of Baidu
The conference also revealed that Baidu will extend to other countries in the near future like Egypt and Thailand. Indeed, last January, the site has been available for less than 24 hours and then taken down. A buzz for the search engine.
The past few years, Baidu has been focusing on Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and Egypt. First by rolling out software products like its PC antivirus app, then its mobile browser for Android phones and finally its AOL-style Hao123 listings portal. These countries are already hosting Baidu offices to manage those products and they seem more confident to finally use Baidu name.
The only defeat Baidu search engine had abroad was in Japan where it has struggled to gain any significant market share. So what should we expect for Brazil ?