Houston Community News >> Baidu Takes Aim at Japanese Segment

1/10/2008-- BAIDU.COM will add video, travel and restaurant search functions on its Japanese site this month to gain more users in a market dominated by Yahoo and Google.

It came nearly one year after the No.1 search engine in China launched its Japanese language service in an effort to expand overseas, with Japan first in the firing line.

The new services will go online on January 23, according to its Japanese site, Baidu.jp, which has its server in Japan. Currently it provides Web page, news and image search.

Company officials refused to disclose further details yesterday, saying an official statement would be available later.

The new functions will increase Baidu's costs on its Japan operations.

Related costs and expenses in the third quarter were 20.3 million yuan (US$2.7 million), which reduced diluted earnings per share by 0.58 yuan (8 US cents).

The company estimates total costs and expenses related to its Japan initiative may be about US$15 million for 2007.

The figure was US$6.5 million in total for the first three quarters last year.

Baidu.jp ranked No.973 in Japan by traffic, according to data on traffic ranking site Alexa.com yesterday. Eighty-two percent users are from Japan, followed by seven percent from the Chinese mainland.

The most used service is image search, contributing 78 percent of the traffic.

The Beijing-based Website has about 60 percent of China's search market. Google ranked a distant second in China, followed by Yahoo.

Baidu also has plans to expand into other Asia markets such as South Korea.

(Contributed by Shanghai Daily)