Baidu is taking its first steps into the international mobile market with its partnership with France Telecom’s mobile network, Orange, reported an article from Forbes. According to the article, Baidu has inked a deal with Orange in an attempt to offer an affordable data service to Orange subscribers.
Orange is reportedly the third largest international carrier with an estimated 81 million subscribers in Africa and the Middle East and hopes to expand to 300 million by the end of 2013; Baidu’s partnership with Orange will give the search engine access to these subscribers. The deal will last only one year, reported Forbes, but, during that time, Baidu hopes to establish a strong presence as mobile browser that rivals the popularity of Google mobile. Commentators from Africa Telecom & IT speculated that the Baidu-Orange deal will be followed by a partnership with the low-cost mobile Android-based phones from Huawei if Baidu can steer Huawei’s allegiance away from Google.
Xavier Perret, head of partnerships at Orange, said, “We want to make the mobile Internet as ubiquitous as possible as fast as possible.” Perret claimed that the affordable and user-friendly Baidu-Orange browser will encourage mobile phone users in Africa and the Middle East to upgrade their basic or feature phones to smartphones on the Orange network.
In its partnership with Orange, Baidu hopes to release mobile browsing capabilities that take on Google mobile and provide subscribers with a fast, convenient, and reliable search engine. Baidu’s presence as a browser in the international mobile market will likely bring more authority to the already deemed Chinese “search engine giant” as a browser on mobile and desktop devices.
Photo courtesy of Forbes.com