Chinese search engine Baidu has launched a new service in Japan, the first time the service has launched outside of its home market.
Baidu has chosen Japan as the next step because of the high levels of internet penetration in the country, as well as the similarities in language between the two countries.
Baidu currently has a 58% share of the search market among China’s estimated 125 million internet users, while Google trails on 17%. The search engine currently ranks seventh in Alexa’s Global Top 500.
The move was announced by Baidu chairman Robin Li back in December, but until now has only been showing a single-page with no links to any services. Korea is believed to be the next step for the company.
Baidu offers a broadly similar search service to Google, though it differs in its paid search methods, ranking search listings according to the amounts paid, and mixing paid search results in with organic listings.
A recent study into the paid search advertising market in China revealed that advertisers are concerned over Baidu’s approach to the click fraud problem, with Chinese paid search marketers believing that 34% of clicks are invalid.