The Baidu Shenbian app for local listings - now under Baidu's newly spun-off LBS division.
At an event in Beijing this morning, Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU), China’s biggest search engine, revealed that it has set up a dedicated location-based services (LBS) division that will focus on local listings and online maps. Techweb reports that Baidu also revealed that its online maps, now in their fourth year of operations, have 77 million users and that more than 4,000 businesses use its maps as a part of their online marketing.
Baidu’s move – which we heard rumors of last week – clearly emphasizes how local searches and lifestyle suggestions are an important part of what people are looking for on the web. Indeed, Baidu’s new LBS head, Mr. Shen Li, said at the event that Baidu has 100 million users across all its location-oriented services, such as its Baidu Shenbian (“Local”) app for nearby listings and reviews.
A big part of the new Baidu LBS division will be working with partners, such as the businesses who offer discounts via the newly-update Baidu Maps mobile app. The company noted that currently there are over one million developers making use of Baidu’s open platform.
Stronger local searches and app offerings will help Baidu fight off competition from all directions: startups making neat listings and/or coupons apps (like DDmaps), China’s Yelp-like Dianping which does daily deals, and also many products from rival Chinese web portals (such as Tencent’s Soso Maps).
Baidu has one other major corporate division, which is the one that covers mobile and cloud products. That includes its cloud-oriented, Android-based smartphone OS which can be found running on three handsets.
[Source: Techweb - article in Chinese]
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