China’s largest search engine, and one of the its biggest tech companies, Baidu has been working on its fair share of developments to become a globally-recognized name in tech. Namely dipping into multiple branches of communications tech to stay competitive and ensure it remains at the forefront of the swiftly-moving mobile scene. Now, Baidu is relying on a tried-and-true formula to success: partnering with foreign entities.
The search engine company just announced a partnership with Finnish Nokia aimed at securing Baidu’s mapping technology outside of China. Nokia’s HERE service provides navigation and location data in nearly 200 countries “with turn-by-turn navigation for 118 countries,” according to Nokia. Nokia’s mapping service will power Baidu’s Maps software in different countries, beginning with Taiwan. However, users of Baidu Maps will be able to use the service in other countries soon, according to the companies’ joint statement. Bruno Bourguet, SVP and Head of Sales for HERE, said: “Every day, millions of people count on HERE to explore the world and discover new places whether at home or on the go. Together with Baidu, a new customer for us, we want to help the growing number of Chinese tourists get the most from their travels.”
This is not the first global deal Baidu has made with a tech giant in order to secure a footprint in a market outside search. It partnered with France Telecom last year to bring its browser — initially designed for Chinese smartphone users — to the AMEA markets. In 2013, it launched a lab with Intel to develop specific mobile technology as both Baidu and Intel struggle to establish their presences in the mobile market. (Although Baidu arguably has a leg up considering the opportunities for its software as opposed to Intel’s hardware conundrum.) Baidu has also partnered with Qualcomm in the past to develop cloud storage for Android users. In November, there were reports of Baidu’s work in Indonesia as it explores startups and looks for talent in that market.
Even so, some believe that Baidu has much work to do yet in order to become a global household name. And, indeed, this could be just the tip of the iceberg for global recognition for this company and other China-based tech giants. Analysis from Forbes last month suggested that companies like Baidu, Xiaomi, and Alibaba haven’t gained widespread recognition China due to a few reasons: the lack of presence in overseas consumer markets and their developing ownership structures.
Whatever the reasons, however, Baidu is working to overcome the challenges slowing it from establishing itself as a presence in other countries. In short, the company has likely only just begun its focus on international projects. Keep an eye on this Chinese company over the next year for more progress.