Smartphones are kind of a big deal in China, and Baidu, one of the PRC’s largest web companies, has just launched a new mobile web browser to take advantage of that fact.
China sees more smartphone sales than the U.S., and in March 2012, the PRC also passed the U.S. in the number of new smartphone activations. And flagship devices like the iPad have more adoption in China than anywhere else in the world.
Currently, the Baidu mobile browser is available for Android and Windows Phone only — no surprise there. The webkit-based browser includes a personalized homepage, voice browsing features, an “omnibar”-style search and URL bar, and an app center.
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Here’s a video showing the browser in actions:
With this launch, Baidu has put itself in competition with Yahoo, Google, Mozilla, and a handful of other mobile web browsers; however, given Baidu’s strong foothold in China, we wouldn’t be too surprised to see its adoption trounce its competitors’ numbers regionally.
Of course, iOS mobile browsers other than mobile Safari aren’t allowed by Apple. Baidu was reportedly partnering with Apple to get deeper iOS integration for Baidu web search. Since Google and China have a historically tense relationship due to the government’s censorship and espionage activities clashing with Google’s corporate and PR goals, and since Apple and Google are continually at one another’s throats in the mobile arena, nothing would make more sense than a Baidu integration for iPhones sold in China.
VB's research team is studying mobile user acquisition... Chime in here, and we’ll share the results.