China’s No.1 Search Engine Jumps On To The Cloud Computing Bandwagon
Over the last decade, China has been the country to watch out for. After decades of isolationism through communism, China has embraced capitalism with frenzy, though nominally, communism still rules the one-party State. Overtaking Japan as the world’s second largest economy, China is fast closing on to the United States, with India following close behind. That is why any development in China has the potential to influence the world at large.
While I had earlier written about the general trends in cloud computing in these two countries (See: The Chinese Dragon And Cloud Computing and Is India The Next Cloud Computing Superpower? ), more recently there was an article on a specific Chinese powerhouse, the e-commerce conglomerate Alibaba (See: The New Chinese Cloud OS ). Today, this article discusses how another major Chinese company is keen to enter the cloud computing space.
Google may be the most popular search engine in the world, but in China, it is Baidu that rules. Of course, a lot of it is because Google is not allowed in China, having exited following disagreement with the authoritarian government about monitoring of user behavior and censorship. But, even when Google was present, it was second behind Baidu. Today, it has about 200 million registered users and 80% of all search market traffic in China. Its NASDAQ-listed shares are up nearly 50% so far this year, giving it a market value of around $50 billion. Therefore, its decision to enter the cloud computing market has considerable significance.
Baidu recently launched a new mobile application platform called Baidu Yi, and exhibited its coming mobile operating system targeted at the growing number of users accessing the Internet from smartphones and tablet computers. Baidu Yi has taken a page out of the Apple playbook and will enable third-party application developers to create and sell apps, just like the Apple App Store. During this launch, Baidu Chief Financial Officer Jennifer Li revealed that the company is looking out for potential acquisitions and investment opportunities in the mobile and cloud computing spaces, using remote servers hosted on the Internet to manage and store data. We constantly assess our business needs and are on the lookout in the industry space for what will be a good fit for us,” she said.
Other than Alibaba and now Baidu, other Chinese companies have also invested resources in cloud computing. For instance, Huawei Technologies launched its cloud computing smartphones last month. Considerable credit for the Chinese resurgence is due to the innovation of Chinese companies. When these companies start looking at cloud computing, it can only augur well for the industry.
By Sourya Biswas