Google’s China-based competitor Baidu would love to come up with a win in the newly emerging mobile search market, and their latest strategy has them going behind enemy lines. Baidu is in talks with several handset manufacturers to feature their search box widget prominently in place of Google’s on upcoming Android phones. Mobile search is still a fledgling market in China, and Android handsets only account for 0.4 percen of the 7.5 million smartphones sold during the last three months of 2009. That number has surely grown over the first half of 2010, as it seems not a day goes by that we don’t report on some knock-off or low-end Android phone headed for the Chinese market (and that’s not counting tablets).
As smartphone usage grows in China mobile search is bound to become a huge market, and could mean large gains for the companies featuring search on various handsets. It isn’t unprecedented for a manufacturer or carrier to forego Google for a competing search engine (Yahoo and Bing have both showed up on North American Android handsets), but it there is no doubt the American search giant would rather reap all the rewards — including search traffic — that come along with it’s quickly expanding mobile endeavors.
[via All Things Digital]