Amazon has turned to Baidu, China’s top search company, to power its Amazon Fire tablet in China — the country where Google and its services are not welcome. The device, which first launched in the U.S. in September, is now available in Mainland China where it is priced at 499 RMB (around $80).
The device will feature Baidu as the default search engine. A spokesperson for Baidu confirmed that the Chinese firm is also providing apps via 91Wireless — the Android app store it bought for $1.9 billion in 2013 — and online video via its iQiyi service, which is China’s second-largest YouTube-like site behind only Alibaba-owned Youku Tudou.
There are already a plethora of tablet devices available in China, many of which are even cheaper than the Fire Tablet while others are more glamorous — such as Xiaomi’s new 999 RMB Mi Pad 2. While it is hard to know how well Amazon’s newest release will fare, the company has picked a solid partner to help market the device and equip it with the right services for Chinese consumers. (Amazon’s own commerce business in China is well behind Alibaba, JD.com and others, giving it less of a launch platform than it enjoys in the U.S. and other parts of the world.)