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Baidu launches mobile browser, tosses currency into clouds

Hopes for 80 per cent penetration by year-end

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China’s search-and-plenty-more giant Baidu has flagged a $US1.6 billion cloud investment. The investment, announced with a minimum of detail by CFO Li Xinzhe, will go towards building data centres and hiring staff.

The Chinese search firm also announced the launch of the Baidu Mobile Browser, which it says is designed to compete with Chrome and Safari. It claims a 20 percent performance boost over its rivals based on internal testing.

Briefing Asian journalists last Friday (August 31), Baidu said its mobile browser can play high-definition video without plugins or extra supporting software, according to Reuters.

The company said it hopes that 80 percent of China’s handsets will run its browser by the end of the year. By some astonishing coincidence, 80 percent is also the search market share the company claims in the Middle Kingdom, in the absence of Google, which has clashed with Chinese authorities over search censorship.

During August, Google’s local partner Qihoo launched its own search service, relegating Google to an “alternative search option”.

The Wall Street Journal says Baidu’s cloud plans include remote online storage, as well as API access to its map service which last month overtook Google Maps in China. ®

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