Baidu set to launch Thai search engine

Baidu set to launch Thai search engine

Baidu Inc, China's largest internet search engine company, will introduce a Thai-language interactive search engine next year in a drive to capitalise on the growing online advertising market.

Richard Lee (left), global marketing director of Baidu Inc, demonstrates PC products while Paul Chen, general manager of Baidu (Thailand), shows mobile apps such as a battery saver, speed booster, mobile browser and photo editor.

Global marketing director Richard Lee said it chose Thailand and Indonesia as test beds for expanding abroad.

Baidu believes Thailand's internet business has high potential for growth, fuelled particularly by the availability of high-speed broadband service, he said.

"We are committed to continue investing in Thailand with no concerns about the current political uncertainty," Mr Lee said.

Baidu set up its Thai subsidiary late last year, spending millions of US dollars to recruit staff and build a research and development facility serving local products.

Mr Lee said it has spent almost three years developing a Thai-language search engine for launch early next year.

He said Thailand, Indonesia, Brazil and Egypt are the four emerging markets where Baidu is expanding. It also has a presence in Japan, South Korea and Western Europe.

Mr Lee said Baidu will provide Thai-language versions of eight of its popular PC and mobile products including anti-virus software, PC performance software, Spark browsers, the Hao 123 online directory service website and a speed booster for Android-based smartphones.

"Up to 65% of 25 million internet users in Thailand use our products and services," said Mr Lee, adding that the company is focusing on making revenue from online advertising.

Paul Chen, the general manager of Baidu (Thailand), said the company next year will provide search engine marketing and optimisation free to firms that want to expand to the Chinese market.

The company will gain revenue from online adverts each time users click a link through Baidu's search engine.

Baidu is the biggest search engine in China with a 75% market share.

Mr Lee said Baidu expects global revenue of US$30 billion in 2019, up from $3.58 billion last year, with the expansion of its business footprint to cover half the global population.

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