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Microsoft eyes China's search market

By Su Zhou and Liu Baijia  (China Daily)

13:56, October 17, 2012

After narrowing its gap with search giant Google Inc in the US market, Microsoft Corp's Bing has begun to set its sights on China, where it is expected to expand its market share by marketing, enhancing local cooperation, and integrating social and mobile platforms, company officials said.

After three years of development, Bing has surpassed Google in terms of English-language searching capability, Microsoft officials said. This month, a blind test, in which users decided which search results were better, showed that more than 66 percent of users preferred Bing, according to Harry Shum, Microsoft corporate vice-president.

The US market share of Microsoft and Yahoo, whose search-engine services are also provided by Bing, was 28.7 percent in August, while Google's share was 66.4 percent, according to ComScore Inc.

Shum said Bing is ready to compete with Baidu Inc and Google in China, not only in Chinese-language search services but also in English-language searching, on personal computers and mobile devices.

Bing China recently launched a new version that claims to provide a better English-language search service. The strategy aims to attract high-end Internet users, who deal with English information more than others - the same group that uses Microsoft's messenger service.

"As far as I know, more than 5 percent of search content on the Internet in China is in English, but major players in the Chinese search market such as Baidu are not doing well or do not want to do well because the Chinese search service is already very big," Shum said.

"Backed by Microsoft and Bing in English-speaking countries, I believe we can provide a better English search service."

At the same time, Bing in the United States also announced some new features, such as a dynamic homepage, and connections with major social networking websites including Facebook, Twitter and Yelp.

Shum said Bing is still looking for the best suitable social networking site in China to work with.

According to Beijing-based research company Analysys International, Baidu dominated the search market with a 78.6 percent of the market share in the second quarter of 2012. Google's share dropped to 15.7 percent. Bing, which went on line in 2009, has a market share of less than 1 percent.

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