Apple could soon be adding popular Chinese search engine Baidu to iPhones in China. This decision is said to be part of Apple’s strategy to increase its services in the world’s most populous country which has a population of over 1.3 billion. The alleged deal with Baidu, a company that accounts for about 80 percent of China’s web search quarries could be announced as soon as next week at Apple’s WWDC event in San Francisco. Such a deal could further Apple’s reach in China which is currently the world’s largest mobile market.
In addition to giving Chinese consumers access to their country’s leading search engine, this decision lines up with Apple’s highly rumored strategy of moving away from Google’s web product suite. “This is definitely going to help Baidu,” executive officer Joshua Maa of advertising firm Madhouse Inc told Bloomberg. Maa expects this deal to help increase Baidu’s wireless advertising.
Baidu currently dominates China’s desktop search engine market and is said to be focusing on adding users who access the Internet by way of smartphones. China raked in 20 percent of Apple’s sales last quarter and the company’s CEO Tim Cook sees more opportunity as Apple introduces the iPhone on more wireless carriers.
Apple’s revenue tripled in China last quarter, making it the company’s biggest market outside of the U.S. Back in February Apple added Baidu support to its Mac OS. The idea of Baidu expanding to iOS isn’t too hard to swallow.