Alibaba, Microsoft Team Up on Chinese Search Site

Big Chinese electronic-commerce company Alibaba Group has joined with Microsoft Corp. to create a new Web-search site—a move that could challenge Baidu Inc.’s (BIDU) dominance of China’s search market.

Alibaba Group, of which Yahoo Inc. owns a roughly 40 percent stake, launched a beta version of a website called Etao on Saturday, aimed at driving traffic to Alibaba’s retail website,

Search results on Etao are displayed in several groups. Taobao listings, including images and product prices, appear first. Those are followed by links to related online forums. Next come informational websites and Web search results provided by Microsoft’s Bing search engine.

Alibaba and Microsoft (MSFT) confirmed that Etao is in public, or beta, testing, but declined further comment. A Yahoo (YHOO) spokeswoman declined to comment on the new search site. She added the company doesn’t have operational control over the Yahoo China business.

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