China’s Largest Search Engine Baidu Launches English Site For Developers

Baidu, the search behemoth often referred to as “China’s Google,” launched its new English-language Web site for developers today. While the site is still in its infancy–right now there are just a few intros up and no documentation–it promises to grow into a valuable resource for developers who want to take a crack at the Chinese market.

Kaiser Kuo, Baidu’s head of international communications, says that the company can help developers who aren’t fluent in Chinese by making their apps discoverable through search on Baidu’s Mobile App Center. “As for monetization, no models are off the table,” Kuo tells me. “Subscriptions, freemium, in-app ads and just about any other revenue model is up for discussion, and depends on what works best for the type of app in question.”

According to Chinese Internet stats company CNZZ, Baidu held a 72.1 percent market share in January, with Qihoo 360’s search engine trailing behind at 10.5 percent. Of course, getting more developers on board also helps Baidu shore up its mobile assets, which are a key part of its growth strategy. The company said yesterday in its quarterly mobile report that it saw a 1,000 percent increase in mobile search traffic from the start of 2010 to December 2012. While the company does not have a specific public number for the total amount of domestic developers who have already created apps, it’s in the tens of thousands.

Kuo says that the company doesn’t have a clear timeline for the rollout of documentation yet, but that they will be available within a few months. The tools have been available in Chinese since they were launched at Baidu World back in September.