App distribution in most countries remains pretty straightforward: the App Store for iOS, and Google Play for Android. In China, however, where users face difficulty accessing Google services due to government-imposed restrictions, app distribution is a circus, with tons of third-party stores competing for market share. But with big and small tech firms fighting to become the biggest and baddest app broker, one firm sits at the top: Baidu (NASDAQ: BIDU).
China’s leading search engine, Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU), is not getting any Thai hospitality right now. A number of Thai netizens are not happy that certain computer stores have pre-installed Baidu’s Antivirus software onto their Windows machines, which are later sold to customers. The program, in turn, installs the Hao123 toolbar – created by Baidu – onto the web browser.
Search giant Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU) recently removed links to over 800 Chinese peer-to-peer lending websites from its search results, according to China’s New Business Daily (hat-tip to TechNode). The new blacklist comes after a string fraudulent sites went dark and high-tailed it with lenders’ money, including one just last week. Over 100 such sites have absconded or went bust in recent years, with an estimated US$110 million lost in under half a year.
Baidu today officially rebranded its financial services branch (hat-tip to Techweb) changing the name from “Baidu Licai” to “Baidu Jinrong” (both of these can be translated to “Baidu Finance”). The name change comes with a slew of upgrades for the search giant’s financial platform, including a new personal loan service. Users can borrow up to ten times their monthly income and pay it back over a maximum of three years.
Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU), the Chinese tech giant best known for its search engine, announced yesterday it will roll out a new mobile wallet app called Baidu Wallet (baidu qianbao), reports Jinghua.cn (via Techweb). Like its main rivals from Alibaba (Alipay) and Tencent (Tenpay and WeChat Payments), Baidu Wallet serves as a Swiss army knife for the average Chinese consumer’s finance needs.
China’s internet sector recorded its busiest period for mergers and acquisitions last year as cash-rich online giants Tencent, Alibaba and Baidu led the way with a spate of major transactions. It could be a busier period this year, except for online search kingpin Baidu’s apparent decision to slow down the pace rather than join its peers in a pell-mell rush to strike deals.
As we enter 2014, Baidu (BIDU) continues to own the largest share of China’s search engine market. The company is growing mobile revenue and seeing strength in its growing business. Yet, the competition in China is becoming more and more fierce, as Qihoo 360 (QIHU) and Sogou have cut Baidu’s lead from 78.6% to 63%. Yet, the market is shifting rapidly to mobile, and Baidu has shown both great vision and concentration in this new battleground. Moving into 2014, we see a lot more upside in shares to hit at least $210, if not higher, pushing above our 2013 target of $180.