updated 11:12 am EDT, Thu June 14, 2012
Deal similiar to one signed with Android phone makers, says Baidu VP
Chinese web search company Baidu will share some of its advertising revenue with Apple as a part of the deal to be featured in iOS, according to Baidu VP Wang Jing. While Baidu will only be another option for iOS search in China -- Google will remain the default -- Baidu currently handles 80 percent of Chinese web searches, and Wang says that the company is willing to cope with expenses in order to get smartphone users, for instance by offering free services like music streaming.
Wang is refusing to discuss the exact terms of the deal, and Apple has yet to comment. Mirae Asset Securities analyst Eric Wen notes, though, that a growing number of people in China are going online via smartphones instead of computers, making the mobile realm critical to firms like Baidu. Wang also says that his company has signed similar agreements with companies making Android phones.
Baidu will become available in China with the advent of iOS 6, which should launch sometime this fall. Better support for China is one of the smaller tentpoles of the new OS; the firmware will also have expanded handwriting recognition, Siri support for Cantonese and Mandarin, and integration with local video sites Youku and Tudou.