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Baidu, Microsoft Team Up For English Search In China

Google Inc may face a new challenge in China as Microsoft Corp, its main rival in the United States, and Baidu Inc, China’s biggest search engine, are joining forces against it in the world’s largest Internet market.

Baidu, China’s biggest search engine by revenue, on Monday announced a partnership with Microsoft that would allow its users to see English-language search results generated by Bing, the US company’s search engine.No financial considerations were involved in the deal, which will see Bing’s search results labeled and integrated into Baidu’s search results from later this year.

Chinese users account for only 8.6 percent of Bing’s total users globally. Bing is still a tiny player in online searches in China. By contrast, it accounted for 14.1 percent of the US search market in May, following Google’s 65.5 percent and Yahoo’s 15.9 percent.

Industry watchers see Microsoft’s partnership with Baidu as taking advantage of Google’s reluctance to participate in the Chinese marketplace—and giving Baidu access to a first-class English language search engine to handle the growing number of English queries it receives.

However, Microsoft will almost certainly be required to censor English-language search results sent to users in mainland China; failure to do so would likely result in Microsoft losing a license to operate in the country.

Chinese censors routinely block access to information the government believes to be disruptive or dangerous, including information about democracy, human rights, and criticism of Chinese authorities.

Microsoft may also find itself required to hand over search records from Bing to assist Chinese authorities in prosecuting bloggers and human rights activists.

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