Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU), China’s top search engine, has quietly launched its search site over the weekend in Thailand, Brazil, and Egypt. The sites are localized for each country’s language, and feature options for searching images, videos, and more.
(UPDATE: A Baidu representative says the sites “were intended only for internal testing” and are now being taken offline. We managed to grab more screenshots before they vanished, which are at the bottom of the story). Baidu’s new homepages can be found at Baidu.co.th for Thailand, Baidu.net.br for Brazil, and Baidu.com.eg for Egypt. The regular Baidu.com site is still only in Chinese.
This is the first time for Baidu to push its search capabilities into a number of new markets , but it’s not the first time for the Beijing-based company to enter those countries. Baidu has been focusing on Thailand, Brazil, and Egypt for about two years, gradually rolling out software products like its PC antivirus app, its mobile browser for Android phones, as well as its AOL-style Hao123 listings portal, and Postbar (“Tieba” in Chinese) forums.
Searching the Thai web
Looking at Baidu’s new site in Thailand, the frontpage features web search, video search, Baidu Translate, and Postbar as its main searching options. Below it are links to popular global and local sites like Facebook and Sanook. These, of course, vary by country:
Baidu used to utilize Google for its searches in those nations on the Hao123 site. But on Baidu’s new homepages there’s no indication of this. Here are the search results:
And here are video search results in Thai:
The Thai site also has image search which links to Google, MP3 search which goes to notorious piracy site 4Shared, Thai Wikipedia search, and Google Maps search. Clearly, Baidu is filling in holes in its repertoire where needed.
But the launches are not a surprise. Indeed, more countries will surely come online in due course. Back in the summer of 2012, Baidu opened a lab in Singapore focusing on natural language processing technology for Southeast Asia.
Baidu already has offices in Thailand, Vietnam, Egypt, and Brazil to manage its existing products, so now the company seems more confident to consolidate its services – like Hao123 and its Android and PC apps – under the Baidu name.
(UPDATE: We got screenshots of Baidu’s Egyptian site, though not the Brazilian one, before it was taken offline. Added in below):
(Editing by Paul Bischoff)