In a move that has been expected for some months now, Microsoft has agreed to provide English-language search results for Chinese search giant, Baidu.
Baidu dominates search in China with somewhere near 80 percent of the market currently. However, despite getting 10 million English-language searches each day, this is a small proportion of the total English searches carried out in country each day. Google’s offshore sites account for about 20 percent of the market in China but Microsoft will be hoping that this tie-up will allow its Bing search engine to grow its presence in the Chinese market.
English-language searches in Baidu will now be re-directed through Bing with a spokesman for Baidu saying that Bing searches would not be censored any more "than they already do." Currently Bing filters out results in China regarding controversial subjects such as pornography, Taiwan and political dissidents. Google pulled out of China last year after it alleged that government-backed hackers tapped into the company’s email. Google has long been against the censorship of its search results in the country and following the alleged hack, it decided to stop censoring and therefore had to pull out of the country.
"It will strengthen Baidu's position in the search market in China and for Microsoft, Baidu's large traffic also provides a platform for it to promote itself, which will help it to gain more users," said Dong Xu, an analyst with domestic research company Analysys International.