Chinese website Sina Tech via Tech in Asia reports that according to their “knowledgeable sources“, Apple is planning to include Baidu as one of the search engines in iOS.
This doesn’t come as a major surprise as Baidu is the no. 1 search engine in China, controlling over 80% of the market share.
According to Sina Tech, Baidu will be included as one of the search engines to mobile Safari via an iOS software update next month. It’s not clear whether Apple plans to replace Google with Baidu as the default search engine for users in China or it is simply adding Baidu to list of search engines users can choose from.
If it is the former than it would be a major blow to Google as it will shrink its market share in China even further. As you may know, Google had taken the extreme step of redirecting China search features to Google Hong Kong as it did not have the same laws of censorship of political content as the Mainland.
While it is seen as a move by Apple to reduce its dependence on Google, it must be noted that Google pays Apple quite a significant fee to be the default search engine on iOS devices.
It would be a good move to make Baidu the default search engine from users point of view as based on Baidu’s marketshare it is quite clear than Chinese users prefer it over Google.
But you never know, Apple could be using Baidu as the “pawn” in its growing rivalry with Google.