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Baidu seeks market expansion opportunities at Rio Olympics

Baidu is launching new editions of its mapping services for most of South America.
Baidu is launching new editions of its mapping services for most of South America.

China: China‘s desktop and mobile web mapping service, Baidu, is mapping South America as Rio Games near. Focusing on the global emerging markets, Baidu is launching new editions of its mapping services for most of South America. Baidu has already launched a version of its core search business in Brazil.

Many will probably view this move to launch mapping services in 13 countries as a prelude to future launches for search service in those markets. The rapid expansion in Baidu services are aimed at Chinese traveling abroad, which makes it unlikely to attract many local users in global markets because better services already available in most markets.

Still suffering from a spate of negative news at home, leading search engine Baidu is trying to draw attention to the more upbeat subject of its global expansion that is slowly inching forward. The company has squarely focused its global drive on emerging markets, and is continuing that trend with word that it’s launching new editions of its mapping services for most of South America.

Baidu has already launched a version of its core search business in Brazil, and many will probably view this move to launch mapping services in 13 countries as a prelude to future launches for search service in those markets.

The move looks at least partly timed to coincide with the upcoming Rio Olympics and will see Baidu‘s mapping service debut for major South American countries like Brazil, Argentina, Peru and Chile, among others. Baidu formally launched its Brazil search service in 2014 after several years of beta testing, and also has recently launched search sites in Egypt and Thailand, all under the Hao123.com name.

The company also has a Hao123 site in English, presumably aimed at taking on global giant Google and other English-language rivals like Microsoft’s Bing and the fading Yahoo. Baidu made its first foray outside China a decade ago with a launch in Japan, but never gained any traction there and last year announced it would stop supporting the service.