Apple’s Embrace of Baidu Would Get a Lot of Love in China

Published on June 7, 2012
by John Paczkowski

The long-rumored deal that will see Apple add Baidu as a search option for iPhones in China has finally been signed. Sources familiar with the matter tell Bloomberg that Apple is indeed integrating Baidu search into its iOS platform, and that it could announce its availability at the company’s Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco next week.

This is an important move for Apple, which has been working hard to court the vast addressable market for its devices in the world’s most populous country. Baidu processes about 78.5 percent of China’s Internet search queries, so adding it as an option to iOS’s search services in China is a no-brainer and long overdue.

It’s not clear whether Baidu will be the default search option in China, but it does seem likely. Baidu is far more popular in China than Google, which makes it the logical choice. That said, simply adding it as an option will surely be a welcome customization for China, which is Apple’s fastest-growing market.

And it’s a market with a lot of unmet appetite.

Recall that, earlier this year, Apple CEO Tim Cook conceded that the company may have underestimated Chinese demand for its new iPhone 4S. Remarking on sales of the 4S in Greater China, Cook said demand for the device there has been staggering. “We felt we were betting bold, as I think many of you would have thought if you would have known what we were doing,” Cook said of the 4S rollout plan for the country. “But as it turns out, we didn’t bet high enough.”

(Image courtesy of M.I.C. Gadget)

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