Baidu Looks to Embed Search Box in Chinese Mobile Phones

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Baidu is aiming to put its own search box across the screens of cell phones in China as part of its ongoing efforts to expand in the mobile market.

The search engine company is in talks with the country's major mobile phone makers about adding an embedded search box to their handsets. "It's not a new idea, but nor is it something we've done on any large scale yet," said Baidu spokesman Kaiser Kuo.

The company is targeting different mobile platforms across the spectrum, including phones using the Android operating system, which was developed by Baidu's search engine rival, Google.

Baidu is working on other mobile products, Kuo said, but he would not reveal details.

"Some of them are fairly easy to guess at, and not all speculation in the Chinese tech press is that far off base," he said.

That speculation includes suggestions that Baidu is developing its own mobile operating system. Baidu has not commented on those reports.

Baidu dominates the search engine market in China with a 70 percent share to Google's 24.2 percent, according to research firm Analysys International.

Ren Yanghui, an analyst with Analysys, said Baidu has steadily been working to take control of the mobile search market, with the embedded search box project another important step. Baidu already has a growing collection of mobile apps that feature services such as search or text input.

"The company has placed extremely high expectations in its own mobile development department," Ren said. Now Baidu wants to be the first to establish its own foothold in the growing market of Android phones he added.

As for Baidu's competitor, Google sees Android as "an open source mobile platform, so anyone can bring Android-powered devices to the market," according to company spokeswoman Jessica Powell.

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