Baidu Brushes Up On its Arabic, Thai

A screenshot shows the landing page for the Arabic version of Baidu’s question-and-answer site, Baidu Knows.
The Thai version of Baidu’s Hao 123 web directory, complete with Google search bar.

Baidu founder Robin Li told China’s propaganda chief Li Changchun that his company has ambitions to be world-famous, and he wasn’t kidding.

The Chinese search giant, which already had services in Japanese, has quietly launched new products for the Egypt and Thailand markets. The Egypt site is an Arabic version of its Google Answers-like question-and-answer service Baidu Knows, while in Thailand the company has launched a local-language version of its web directory Hao123.

Baidu had issued a statement Thursday saying Mr. Li met with top Chinese officials at an exhibition in Beijing this month, and expressed hopes to “become a universally recognized brand in over half the world’s countries,” to which China’s propaganda chief responded by encouraging Mr. Li to win “honor for Chinese companies.”

The Arabic Baidu Zhidao, which allows users to post questions and reward other users for good answers, launched last week with a message (in English) inviting users to ask a question. As of Thursday evening, over 6,000 questions had been answered, according to the site, though it still looked bare. Love, health and soccer were among the hottest topics.

Like its Chinese predecessor, the Thai version of Hao123 is a directory that posts links to a simple webpage so they are easily found by inexperienced Internet users. The page features weather forecasts in Bangkok, links to Facebook, Twitter, Hotmail, Yahoo, Apple and Amazon.

“In these markets, we’re dipping our toes in the water and just learning the lay of the land,” Baidu spokesman Kaiser Kuo said Thursday. “We’re not in a huge hurry. We can be patient.”

Baidu is also testing a Baidu Zhidao site in Thai.

Interestingly, the Thai version of Hao123 also features a search bar at the top of of the page by Baidu’s biggest competitor in China, Google.

– Loretta Chao. Follow her on Twitter @lorettac

In recent years, China has re-invigorated its support for leading state-owned enterprises in sectors it considers important to “economic security,” explicitly looking to foster globally competitive national champions.

One demographic consequence of the “one child” policy is that China is now one of the most rapidly aging countries in the world.

China has emphasized raising personal income and consumption and introducing new management systems to help increase productivity.

Nevertheless, key bottlenecks continue to constrain growth.

The two sectors have differed in many respects.

The technological level and quality standards of its industry as a whole are still fairly low, notwithstanding a marked change since 2000, spurred in part by foreign investment.

China’s increasing integration with the international economy and its growing efforts to use market forces to govern the domestic allocation of goods have exacerbated this problem.

Globally, foreign investment decreased by almost 40 percent last year amid the financial downturn and is expected to show only marginal growth this year.

But “this is just a beginning.

China is expected to have 200 million cars on the road by 2020, increasing pressure on energy security and the environment, government officials said yesterday.

In large part as a result of economic liberalization policies, the GDP quadrupled between 1978 and 1998, and foreign investment soared during the 1990s.

Agriculture is by far the leading occupation, involving over 50% of the population, although extensive rough, high terrain and large arid areas – especially in the west and north – limit cultivation to only about 10% of the land surface.

In terms of cash crops, China ranks first in cotton and tobacco and is an important producer of oilseeds, silk, tea, ramie, jute, hemp, sugarcane, and sugar beets.

Fish and pork supply most of the animal protein in the Chinese diet.

China is one of the world’s major mineral-producing countries.

China is among the world’s four top producers of antimony, magnesium, tin, tungsten, and zinc, and ranks second (after the United States) in the production of salt, sixth in gold, and eighth in lead ore.

Hydroelectric projects exist in provinces served by major rivers where near-surface coal is not abundant.

As part of its continuing effort to become competitive in the global marketplace, China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001; its major trade partners are the United States, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Germany.

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Baidu Brushes Up On its Arabic, Thai


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