Baidu Says It May Build on Search-Engine Pact With Microsoft

Baidu Inc., owner of China’s most-popular search engine, said it may expand its partnership with Microsoft Corp. as it steps up plans to offer services outside its home market.

Baidu “won’t rule out” further collaboration with Microsoft, with which it has an existing agreement on the Bing search engine in China, Haoyu Shen, senior vice president at the Chinese company, said in an interview in Beijing today. He declined to elaborate.

Working with Microsoft may help Baidu speed up its overseas expansion after the Beijing-based company overcame competition from Google Inc. to dominate the industry in China. Baidu is developing products in 12 foreign languages, said Shen, who declined to say when they will be rolled out.

Baidu is close to signing a strategic agreement on search-engine operations with Microsoft, reported on May 13, citing people it didn’t identify. Shen declined to comment on the report.

Google, owner of the world’s most popular search engine, accounted for 19.2 percent of China’s search market by revenue in the first-quarter, declining from 19.6 percent three months earlier, according to research company Analysys International. Baidu’s market share rose to 75.8 percent from 75.5 percent, while Microsoft Bing has less than 1 percent market share, according to Analysys.