Monday, May 22, 2006

Baidu To Enter Japan And Viet Nam Market

5/23/06(Yesong Huang and Yonggang Lu report) Yesterday, Baidu announced a new hiring plan to search for search talents with Japanese and Vietnamese skills. The reporters have found that Baidu had already hired several engineers with Korean skills. Analysts think this is a clear sign that Baidu is planning to expand internationally even they still claims to focus on Chinses search only.

Quietly Accumulating Foreign Language Talents

Baidu announced the hiring plan on it's official website. The candidates soughted after are search engineers who are also skillful in Japanese and Vietnamese. We found from related sources that Baidu has already hired a few search engineers who are skillful in Korean. The current hiring is the second reserve that Baidu is preparing for international market.

For the candidates, Baidu has pretty high bar. Besides very capable in algorithm, programming skills, they must also skillful in Chinese, English, Japanese (or Vietnamese). Baidu is also hiring product managers in Japanese and Vietnamese languages to be in charge of understanding local competitive landscape as well as local cultures. These positions will probably long term positions located in Japan and Viet Nam. Baidu prefers Chinese student now living in those two countries. Baidu is even willing to accept someone to take the position as second job. Baidu insider indicated that the engineers will be in numbers no more than ten. However, the number of product managers will have no certain limit.

First Stop of Expansion: Asia

As regard to expanding overseas, Baidu has been very careful from the top down within the company. Whether the CEO Robin Li, or persons in the PR department, there has been a uniform message: "Baidu is focusing entirely on Chinese search". When contacted about their hiring plan, the message is no longer convining. They first hired Korean talents, now again hiring Japanese and Vietnamese talents. Baidu's intention of expanding in Asian market is evident. "We have good expectation for Asian market", general manager of Baidu's PR Mr. D Wang told the reporters. These engineers and product managers are only responsible for research and development instead of starting search websites in foreign languages immediately, Wang said.

Why Baidu chose Asia as the first stop for expansion? Analysts think, first of all, the search market is not yet competitive comparing with the English market and Baidu is trying to avoid collisions with Google and Yahoo. Secondly, the Asian countries have similar culture. With the strength in Chinese search, Baidu can take the market very quickly.

Industry Insiders: Baidu's Time To Expand Overseas Has Come

In fact, rumor has been spreading inside the industry about Baidu's ambition to expand internationally. Baidu has been working hard on the domestic market for six years and has fullfilled their goal to become the dominant player in China. However, comparing with the giants Google and Yahoo, with both have products in dozens of languages, Baidu is still small and weak.

"Time for Baidu to go out", analysts opinioned. If Baidu intends to become a search giant like Google, it is not enough to depend only in domestic market. Having already built up a strong base domestically, the time has come for expanding overseas.

Nevertheless, Baidu will face the same culture barrier when they enter the foreign market. At it's IPO time, Baidu's message to Wallstreet was :"The search engine who truely understands Chinese market". Now preparing for entering foreign territory, it is yet known whether Baidu will be able to fit into the local cultures quickly.

Source Chinabyte (with original from Chongqing Business)


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