Baidu Mulling Expansion Out Of China

Nasdaq-listed Baidu (NSDQ: BIDU) is China’s search portal leader. Now it is joining some domestic peers in considering overseas expansion.

We are going to expand into many other markets for the years to come,” CEO Robin Li told analysts whilst presenting company earnings on Monday.

“We are internally developing a better infrastructure that will support much more languages and, when it’s ready, we’ll be able to launch much more languages simultaneously. And around that time, we’ll be able to setup overseas offices.

“But, right now, we are not ready to say which country we are going into and how aggressive we will become.”

Rival portal Sina (NSDQ: SINA), which already publishes an English site, is expected to try internationalising its Weibo Twitter counterpart.

Baidu already this month did a deal with Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) that sees Bing powers its English-language search results in China. It may be that this puts Bing in pole position for internationalising Baidu in markets outside China.

It’s not yet clear exactly in what shape Sina Weibo and Baidu could launch overseas, or which consumers they might cater to. English-speaking markets already have firm market players. But then, those English players are all trying to enter China. Why not the other way around?

Like many of them, Baidu is also aiming to bridge search and social, Li said: “We would like to perfectly combine the people relationship with content relationship … We are indeed working on some new products that will better satisfy users need. In China there is no dominant SNS in this market. That give us a very good opportunity to innovate and lead leading markets like this.”