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Better Late Than Never, Baidu Launches a Dedicated Product Search Engine

Baidu Shopping launch

The newcomer: Baidu Shopping launches today, albeit nearly three years after its main product search rival.

We’ve seen product search engines becoming a major battleground in China in the past year or so, but the country’s top search company was not playing along. Until today. Now Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU) has its own e-commerce search at gouwu.baidu.com – literally ‘Baidu Shopping’ – that indexes items from most of China’s online retailers.

While the desktop site came online just today, we see that Baidu Shopping sneakily emerged as iPhone and Android apps a few weeks ago. This new feature is not yet one of the seven options on the main Baidu.com homepage above the search box, but it will presumably be added in due course.

The main rival to Baidu Shopping in China is eTao, which launched back in October 2010. It’s a dedicated product search engine run by Alibaba Group, the huge Chinese e-commerce company behind sites like Taobao and Tmall. In late 2011, a handful of e-tailers decided to block and boycott eTao so as not to bolster their main rival’s own search facility, despite Alibaba’s insistence that it was a fair and “agnostic” shopping search engine.

As well as indexing products on e-commerce sites like Tmall, 360Buy, Amazon China, QQBuy, Vancl, and many more, Baidu Shopping also brings up items on social commerce Pinterest clones such as Mogujie and Meilishuo.

Baidu Shopping, however, won’t have any competition from Google, as the American giant’s Google Shopping search for Chinese consumers closed down in December.

Baidu revealed its Q4 and full-year 2012 figures yesterday, but markets reacted very badly to the fairly positive figures, fearing stronger rivals such as Qihoo in its core search and ad platform business, and disappointed by a halving of revenue growth. After closing at $107 per share on Monday, $BIDU opened at $99 and then slid a bit further. It’s currently at $97 in early Wednesday trading.

(Source: Marbridge Daily)



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