China's Baidu Launches Sites for Egypt, Thailand
China's largest search engine, Baidu, has launched two websites for users in Thailand and Egypt, more than a week after the company spoke with a top Chinese government official and declared its intentions to become a top international brand.
Baidu modeled the websites after two of its own popular Chinese products. The site for Thailand is a version of Baidu's hao123.com, which works as a Web directory. The product for Egypt is a question-and-answer service modeled after Baidu Knows.
The search giant previously made a move to expand outside of China, by launching a Japanese search engine in 2007. Earlier this year, the company revealed it was working on a multilanguage platform.
On Thursday, Baidu also released a statement saying that CEO Robin Li met with Li Changchun, a member of China's Politburo Standing Committee.
During the meeting on Sept. 5, Robin Li outlined the company's goals for the next 10 years, which includes the company's brand becoming a household name among more than half the countries in the world.
"Regardless if it's domestically, or in the international environment, we will firmly support the development of Baidu." Li Changchun said regarding Baidu's aspirations, according to the statement.
Li Changchun is considered the propaganda chief for China. Last December a U.S. Embassy cable released from WikiLeaks, claimed Li Changchun believed Baidu rival Google was illegal after he discovered the international version of the search engine provided uncensored search results. A WikiLeaks cable also named Li as the government official who oversaw the December 2009 hack on Google's computer systems, which aimed to access the email accounts of human rights activists.
Following the hack, Google decided to shutdown its China-based search engine at Google.cn, which abided to government requirements and provided filtered search results. Since then, Google's user market share in China has fallen to 8 percent, while Baidu has seen its share reach 80 percent, according to CNZZ.com, an Internet analytics site.