Baidu Allows Users to Search for Tweets from microblogs

Baidu Inc. (BIDU), owner of China’s most- popular search engine, started displaying links to tweets on microblogs run by Sina Corp. (SINA) and Tencent Holdings Ltd., broadening its services for social-networking users.

Users will also be able to search for posts on the microblogs of Inc. (NTES) and Inc. (SOHU), Kaiser Kuo, a spokesman at Baidu, said in an e-mail today. He declined to disclose the commercial arrangements between the companies.

Baidu, which handles more than 80 percent of search-engine queries in China, is boosting spending to offer services targeted at social-networking, online travel and e-commerce users in the world’s biggest Internet market. Sina, based in Shanghai, is the local industry leader for microblogging services, according to BOCOM International. Such services are known as Weibo in Chinese,

baidu starts search tweets
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“Weibo is popular among mobile-phone users, so this will help Baidu’s mobile business,” said Kelvin Ho, who rates Baidu “buy” at Yuanta Securities in Hong Kong. “Social networking is an area where Baidu is working on.”

Baidu rose 1.6 percent to $138.87 in New York trading yesterday, valuing the Beijing-based company at $48.5 billion. Tencent rose 0.3 percent to HK$199.80 at the midday break in Hong Kong today, giving the Shenzhen-based company a market capitalization of HK$367.7 billion ($47.5 billion).

Sina accounted for 65 percent of China’s microblog market by pageviews in December, compared with 27 percent for Tencent, according to a Jan. 12 report by BOCOM International.

Baidu accounted for 78.3 percent of China’s search-engine market by revenue last quarter, rising from 78.2 percent in the previous three months, according to research company Analysys International. Google Inc. (GOOG)’s market share dropped to 16.7 percent from 17.2 percent, the researcher said.

Baidu handles 83 percent of China’s search queries, the company said in July.


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