BIDU: The Mobile Leader in China
While the Western world’s mobile-Internet market is now well-developed and Russia’s smartphone and tablet-based connectivity won’t likely become the norm for a few more years, China is now starting the rapid-growth phase of mobile broadband industry. And, that’s playing right into the hands of Baidu.
China’s mobile web search space is fiercely competitive, though BIDU has been smart about keeping its commanding lead in that space. As an example of its innovative thinking, it introduced “light apps,” which allows a user to open an app on his or her smartphone with a search queries results … even if that app isn’t installed on the handheld device.
Competitor Qihoo 360 (QIHU) responded by doing the same on its mobile search results pages, but Baidu was clearly the first to the market on the front. BIDU is apt to out-innovate the mobile competition in the future as well, especially now that it’s gotten serious about making “91 Wireless” app marketplace into a more potent package of mobile-based tools and attractions.
Whatever the reason, Maxim Group recently upgraded BIDU stock to a “buy” based on the research firm’s estimate that Baidu owns a commanding 57% market share of China’s mobile search market, which is the most important market for any Chinese search company to dominate right now as the country’s consumers fall in love with mobile.