Alibaba, MS join in Chinese search: WSJ

Robert Clark
13 Oct 2010

Alibaba, China’s biggest e-commerce firm, has joined with Microsoft to challenge Baidu in the fast-growing Chinese search market.

Alibaba has deployed a beta version of a search site called Etao aimed at driving traffic to it retail website,, Wall Street Journal reports.

Etao offers results in separate groups for Taobao listings, online forums and web search results from Microsoft's Bing engine.

It is the latest move in a turbulent period in the China search market, which Google exited early this year because of government censorship.

Alibaba, led by China internet guru Jack Ma, is at a standoff with its US shareholder Yahoo, which owns about 40% of the firm but has no control over the China operations.

Yahoo no longer develops its search technology and uses Bing in its global search engine.

Leader Baidu has entrenched its dominance of the China search market since Google’s departure, with 70% of the market by revenue in the second quarter. Google’s share was 24%, said Beijing research firm Analysys International.

Total search revenue was up 45% in the first half of the year to 4.62 billion yuan ($692m).

Other Chinese companies such as software firm Tencent are also likely to enter the web search market, the Journal said.

Alibaba and Microsoft confirmed the beta test but declined further comment, the paper said.

MORE ARTICLES ON: Alibaba, Baidu, China, Microsoft, search, Tencent

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