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Baidu Smells Fortune in Mobile Phone Users
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Mobile phone subscribers are expected to be the major source of internet newcomers, Robin Li, chairman and CEO of Baidu.com, said here Sunday at the ongoing Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2006.

Robin said the number of internet users is only a little over one third of mobile phone users in China. "It is an opportunity as well as a challenge", he said.

He predicted that with the application of the third generation of mobile communications technology, denoted as 3G, mobile users become the most potential users of the Internet.

It can increase China's internet users by 100 million to 200 million in two or three years, Robin Li predicted.

According to statistics of the Ministry of Information Industry, China's network users is nearly 100 million, the second most in the world only next to the Unied States, while the number of mobile phone users is over 400 millions.

Asad Jamal, chairman and CEO of ePlanet Ventures, also said linking mobile telecommunication to the Internet, China's online navigators is expected to grow at an annual rate of 16 percent and hit 230 million by 2010.

By replacing traditional telecommunication with on-line service, 3G technology has a bright future in China, said Asad.

Despite this, Li is not satisfied with China's Internet development as the Internet is only available to 8 percent of the Chinese population while the percentage of a mature market is over 60 percent.

Baidu is a searching engine listed in 2005 on the NASDAQ and its stock price skyrocketed by 354 percent on the listing day.

(Xinhua News Agency April 24, 2006)

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