Baidu is testing new search engines for users outside China that will target markets in Brazil, Egypt and Thailand to start with.
The search pages for the three markets have appeared online, although Baidu has not formally launched the services yet. “It’s still in internal testing,” said company spokesman Kaiser Kuo on Monday.
The three sites can be found at www.baidu.com.eg, www.baidu.co.th, www.baidu.net.br and are designed in the local language of each market. In addition to a search bar, the landing pages to the sites offer direct links to popular services such as Facebook, YouTube, as well as Hao123, Baidu’s own local Web directory.
Besides Web search, the sites also contain different features such as image and video search, along with language translation.
Although Baidu is a household name in China, where it dominates the country’s search market, the company is aiming to become an internationally recognized brand. In 2008, the company released its first search engine outside China, by targeting Japan.
But in expanding its footprint, the Chinese company has had to contend with Google, which globally had over 68 percent of all searches conducted on desktop PCs in December, according to analytics firm Net Applications. In contrast, Baidu had 18.8 percent share during the month.
In 2011, Baidu signaled it would target developing countries by working on Internet products for Thailand and Egypt. In the next year, the company announced it was building an office for its international operations in the Chinese city of Shenzhen.
Baidu is not only developing search engines for the three markets of Brazil, Egypt and Thailand, but also for other nations as well, Kuo added.