Chinese search engine leader Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU) is holding a developers conference today, from where it has just launched a cloud storage platform called Baidu WangPan – meaning, literally, ‘web disk’ in Chinese.
As with rivals such as Dropbox, or Microsoft’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) SkyDrive, it allows users to upload files – be they photos, mp3, videos, apps, text documents, etc. – into the cloud to be stored there and accessed anytime. Baidu WangPan will give a free 15GB of space – more than Dropbox’s initial 2GB, but less that SkyDrive’s 25GB – with incentives for unlimited free expansion. It’s not yet clear if it will offer premium extra storage for consumers or businesses.
Baidu WangPan has apps for PC and Android already, with versions for iOS and Mac in the works. Plus, Android users can make use of three Android file-management apps – ES File Explorer, File Expert, and Boat Browser – which all now support Baidu’s new cloud service with updates today.
Baidu’s move is a challenge to Microsoft, as well as local firms such as Alibaba – with its cloud-oriented Aliyun phone – and also bolsters its own Android-based phone OS, Baidu Yi, in the face of competition from Apple’s iOS (which has iCloud) and Microsoft’s WP7 (which launched in China earlier this week).
The new cloud contender is in private beta for now. At 10am Beijing time everyday, 5,000 fresh invites will go out. Get more info on the Baidu WangPan homepage.
[Image source: 36kr - article in Chinese]