Baidu Seeks Android Deal, China Listing

Chinese Internet search giant Baidu Inc. (BIDU) is gearing for a battle on rival Google Inc.’s (GOOG) own turf: Phones that use Google’s Android operating system.

The Beijing-based company is in talks with mobile handset makers that use the Android software about embedding a Baidu search box on their phones that are destined for the Chinese market, the company’s Chief Executive Robin Li said in an interview.

Targeting Android phones deepens Baidu’s competition with Google in China, as both companies look to expand in the small but fast-growing mobile search market there. Android phones made up a tiny 0.4 percent of the 7.25 million smartphones sold in China during the last three months of 2009, according to Beijing-based technology research firm Analysys International. Still, Baidu wants to capture as much of this budding market as early as possible.

The company is in similar talks with makers of other mobile operating systems and handsets that run their software, Mr. Li said. Baidu’s goal: To have “a search box very prominently on the phone’s screen.” Though he declined to name any companies, he said, “We are talking to quite a few big names.”

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