Looking to claim a bigger footprint in China’s ballooning mobile Internet user base, Baidu says it will invest roughly 10 billion yuan (US $1.6 billion) in a new hosted cloud data center. The company also released a new mobile browser offering Baidu services and native applications with faster downloads.
Baidu is China’s native version of Google, a search engine that offers services for locating products and services along with news, maps, images and platforms for online communities. Though it was the first in China to offer wireless access protocol and mobile search, smartphone users in the country have reached to other search engines as Internet use has expanded. Baidu has benefited since Google stopped working with Chinese regulators in 2010.
The new data center will offer remote storage and platforms for application developers to host new mobile offerings. The company did not say where the facility would be located or how it would be financed.
The Associated Press cites a government authorized Internet organization, the China Internet Network Information Center, that reports China had 538 million people online at the end of July, an 11 percent increase over the year before. Mobile users have risen at twice the rate of PC users and now make up more than 70 percent of the total. The same industry group says Baidu now has 78.6 percent of China’s search engine market compared to 15.7 percent for Google.