Feeds

Chinese search giant Baidu blows $1.9 BEELION on app store

Acquisition will buy it a ready-made audience of mobile downloaders

Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL

Chinese search giant Baidu has splashed a cool $1.9 billion (£1.26bn) on popular mobile app store firm 91 Wireless Websoft, in another sign of the growing value of the mobile internet.

In a brief statement, Baidu said it had signed a Memorandum of Understanding to acquire 100 per cent of 91 Wireless, a subsidiary of Hong Kong-listed mobile gaming biz NetDragon, which runs two popular app stores that it says have seen over 10 billion downloads.

Reports suggested the market reacted badly to the deal, with NetDragon shares dropping more than 20 per cent on Tuesday.

However, despite the huge outlay – the largest M&A sum ever paid by a Chinese internet firm – the acquisition does make sense for Baidu as it looks to establish a more certain foothold in the fast-growing mobile internet space.

Market watcher Forrester is predicting China’s mobile internet population will reach 600 million by 2016, but commentators told The Reg recently that the country’s largest search company still lacks a coherent mobile strategy.

Even CEO Robin Li admitted in October last year that “there will be a transition period lasting a couple of years before the mobile monetisation gap will close”.

Forrester analyst Wang Xiaofeng argued that the firm had to make a bold move given web counterpart Alibaba’s investment in micro-blogging firm Sina Weibo and acquisition of mapping giant Autonavi, and Tencent’s growing success with Whatsapp-like service WeChat.

91 Wireless will act as a “powerful distribution channel” for Baidu apps, she added.

“Mobile internet is unlike the PC-based internet. For the latter, the search engine is the key channel to drive traffic, and Baidu is the dominant search engine in China, but for the mobile internet, users can find information via a browser-based search engine or through myriad discrete apps,” Wang explained.

“Thus, the strength Baidu has online won't necessarily translate to mobile. The investment on 91 Wireless will help Baidu greatly for competing with Ali and Tencent.” ®

Website security in corporate America

More from The Register

next story
Hey, Scots. Microsoft's Bing thinks you'll vote NO to independence
World's top Google-finding website calls it for the UK
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Apple CEO Tim Cook: TV is TERRIBLE and stuck in the 1970s
The iKing thinks telly is far too fiddly and ugly – basically, iTunes
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
Huawei ditches new Windows Phone mobe plans, blames poor sales
Giganto mobe firm slams door shut on Microsoft. OH DEAR
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
OECD lashes out at tax avoiding globocorps' location-flipping antics
You hear that, Amazon, Google, Microsoft et al?
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.