Baidu Takes a Dig at Qihoo With Launch of Antivirus Apps in China

Baidu Antivirus app for PC

The very minimal UI of the new Baidu Antivirus app for PC users in China.

After months of testing it in on users in Southeast Asia and then around the world, Chinese search engine Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU) has now launched its antivirus PC software in China.

It’s a major challenge to arch-rival Qihoo (NYSE:QIHU), which muscled into China’s search engine market last summer but is perhaps best known for its antivirus software.

The Baidu Antivirus app is co-produced with security experts Kapersky. It’s not clear if it’s essentially the same as the earlier Windows app that was marketed overseas as “Baidu PC Faster”. But Baidu’s newest product for its home audience is labeled v1.0 beta 1, and is currently only taking on a limited number of beta testers. Currently, it can’t be downloaded from the new Baidu Antivirus Chinese homepage until it opens up to a new batch of early adopters.

Qihoo’s security credentials have been in the spotlight a lot this year, with numerous allegations of improper data collection and exploitation of users of its PC apps, like its antivirus offerings and its popular 360 Browser for Windows. Not only has a respected Chinese newspaper blasted Qihoo as a “cancer” of the internet, but Apple has banned all of Qihoo’s iOS apps with no explanation. Baidu might be privately seeing this as a good opportunity to win over users to its new app.

To fully challenge Qihoo, Baidu will surely need to create antivirus apps for Android as well.

(Sources: ZOL and Marbridge Daily)

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