Microsoft confirmed Tuesday that it has signed a deal with Chinese search giant Baidu to provide English language Internet search results in the People’s Republic.
“Baidu and Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) announced that Bing, Microsoft’s decision engine, will provide English search results to Baidu users in China,” a Microsoft spokesperson said in an email to InternetNews.com.
“The search results powered by Bing will begin appearing on Baidu’s search results webpage starting in July 2011,” the spokesperson added.
The move, which was reported by The New York Times and other publications over the 4th of July holiday, comes more than a year after Google quit providing search on the Chinese mainland over censorship rules and other issues.
Baidu (NASDAQ: BIDU) is the largest search engine in China, and the partnership will enhance Baidu users’ ability to search using English terms besides Chinese.
A Baidu spokesperson could not be reached for comment.
The Microsoft spokesperson declined to comment further on the agreement.
However, the Times reported that Baidu holds an 83 percent search market share in China and fields as many as 10 million English language searches per day. China has some 470 million users, the largest number of any Internet market in the world, the Times said.
In terms of censorship, Microsoft did not pull its servers from mainland China when Google did and has said it cooperates with the government.
“We operate in China in a manner that both respects local authority and culture and makes clear that we have differences of opinion with official content management policies,” a Microsoft spokesperson told the Times.
In the first quarter of 2011, Baidu brought in revenues of $372 million, up more than 88 percent from the same quarter of 2010, and net income of $163.5 million, an increase of 122.8 percent from the same period last year.
An email to Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) was not answered by publication.
Stuart J. Johnston is a contributing editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals. Follow him on Twitter @stuartj1000.