China’s leading search engine, Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU), is reaching out to developers around the world by making its cloud developer tools available in English. It will allow broader access to numerous Baidu APIs and services, such as for cloud storage, in-app advertising and analytics, and location-based features.
All the information for developers is on this new English site, which will be launched officially tomorrow. At the moment it’s quite basic, but Baidu’s director of international comunications, Kaiser Kuo, explains:
Right now, there are only brief explanations about the tools and resources we’re making available, but in the coming months we’re going to make all the documentation available in English to give app developers outside of China everything they need to distribute apps through Baidu.
There’s a definite emphasis on mobile amongst all these developer tools. Indeed, Baidu has been focusing on mobile a lot more so as not to be out-paced by Chinese netizens jumping onto smartphones and tablets. Earlier today we noted that Baidu has seen an 11-fold increase in mobile searches in the past two years. A few weeks ago, the company said it has 80 million mobile app users, using things like Baidu Maps or the Dropbox-esque NetDrive app.
Baidu’s core products remain only in Chinese, but the company has some interests in Egypt and the Mid-East, some apps in Thailand, its Tieba social forums in Vietnam, a badly loss-making search engine in Japan, and a relatively new research lab in Singapore. That last aspect suggests Baidu might be prepping to take its core search engine into Southeast Asia in the future.
Monetizing Android apps in China
As well as making all its tools available to global developers, Baidu is also pushing its third-party Android market, called the Baidu Mobile App Center. The Chinese search giant is encouraging global developers to try out its tools and then also list their apps in the Mobile App Center, which launched in mid-2011. In a country where Android is hugely popular – much more so than pricey iPhones – but local consumers don’t want to be trapped in the entire Google ecosystem, there are dozens of such third-party Android app stores. Between that store and Baidu’s in-app ad platform, it’s amounts to an alternative way for global Android developers to monetize from Chinese users – and it’s a full-on challenge to Google.
One useful thing that developers and site owners might want to check out – once the full resources get translated – is the SiteApp tool which is a neat way of making a mobile website pretty easily.