The company is now hoping to boost its appeal among British brands with a launch event in London on 18 March marking the new opportunity for them to advertise in China and by conducting a series of one-to-one meetings with UK marketers.
It hopes the scale of the Chinese internet population and the uniqueness of its online shopping ecosystem will encourage Western brands to become advertising partners.
Baidu has an 72 per cent share of the Chinese search market – which is estimated at about 564 million users – ahead of closest rival Qihoo 360, which trails at about 11 per cent, according to Chinese stats company CNZZ.
In its fourth quarter, Baidu reported its slowest profit growth since 2009 and its revenue growth rate was about half that of the previous year. The results, which sent shares down 6.7 per cent immediately after their publication, underline Baidu’s need to expand internationally as the Chinese search market becomes increasingly crowded.
Baidu launched its first English language site for web developers last month as it looked to increase the amount of non-Chinese speakers able to tap into its search, maps, cloud storage, commerce and app capabilities.