China's largest search engine company is to enter China's e-commerce market, in an effort to use its search technologies and popular online communities to win a share of the personal online trading market dominated by Alibaba's Taobao.com.
Baidu.com has already set up a business department to prepare the trading platform connecting individual online sellers and buyers and it is set to launch next year, said a spokesman with the company.
The Nasdaq-listed search engine firm believed the increasing reliance of e-commerce on search engines and online communities would help it compete with Taobao.com, which controls more than 80 percent of the market.
Baidu.com has the biggest Chinese knowledge community and is the first choice for 74.5 percent of Chinese when they use a search engine, according to a survey conducted by the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC).
Of the 63.8 million e-commerce users, 49.2 percent conducted online searches to find comments from other buyers before they went to trading websites, according to studies from the Internet economy research center, iResearch Consulting Group.
A Taobao.com spokesperson congratulated Baidu on the move, saying that the introduction of new players would help the market grow.
Ebay, with 15.4 percent of the market, says that the market still has big potential and requires more powerful players to explore new ways to develop the industry appropriately.
Baidu still needed "an experienced team on business operations with enough execution power" to make progress in this unfamiliar market, commented Internet analyst Lu Bowang.
(Xinhua News Agency October 18, 2007)