Chinese search engine giant Baidu has unveiled its first Latin American office in the Brazilian city of Sao Paulo, vowing to increase its share in the search engine market heavily dominated by Google Inc.
The news comes barely a month after the Chinese company launched a Portuguese version of its site.
The Brazilian office is fitted with all the technologies and amenities found at the company’s Chinese headquarters and will be staffed with about 17 employees, the search engine giant stated in a press release.
Winning the hearts of the Brazilian Internet users will prove to be a daunting task because Baidu’s search engine is not as proficient as Google’s, analysts say.
Moreover, Baidu is already losing its market share in China to local rival so.com, a subsidiary of anti-virus software developer Qihoo 360. According to reports, Baidu’s market share has shrunk by 9% in the past two years, from 72% in 2012 to 63% today.
Baidu, it seems, had been thinking of launching an office in Brazil for several years. It is now talking of allying with local Internet start-ups and hiring students trained under the government’s Ciência Sem Fronteiras (science without borders) program.
Brazil fits well with Baidu’s ambition to grow outside of China: the South American country is the region’s economic power and has a rapidly growing number of Internet users.