UPDATE: Our original post reported that Baidu had moved into Australia, however China Search International has been in touch with us to clarify that Baidu International, its Baidu reseller, is the organization making the move. We’ve therefore updated the post accordingly.

Baidu International, a China Search International-owned reseller of Baidu advertising, has expanded its pan-Asia presence into Australia this week, offering consultancy for brands keen to advertise on Baidu’s system.

Mumbrella reports that the company has appointed a ‘launch team’ that will set up the Australian office. Local hires will work with Baidu International’s Singapore-based executive director Fionn Hyndman, who is well known in Australia from his time at performance marketing firm dgm.

Update as below.

Baidu International has also appointed Dean Capobianco – formerly with Microsoft’s ninemsn and Yahoo – to an advisory role, while former Telstra executive Paul Christy will head up its new Australian office as general manager.

The move is aimed at helping Australian brands gain a foothold in China’s lucrative market, as Hyndman explains:

Over 175 million Chinese users have already made purchases online.

Increasingly, it is Western goods and services that are benefiting from this maturing community. With the proximity to Australia, and the desire for these goods and services, Australian firms are ideally placed to benefit from the market growth and internationalisation of China.

Capobianco pointed out that, with China being Australia’s largest trade partner, “the time is right to help Australian advertisers address this opportunity.”

Baidu itself is sharpening its focus in Southeast Asia, where it is opening a research center. The center is aimed at providing local intelligence and insight to help Baidu products gain a foothold in growing Internet markets like Thailand and Vietnam, which have a combined population of 150 million.

Outside of Asia, the company is also tipped to be preparing an entry into Latin America, with reported plans for a Sao Paolo-based office. However, Baidu has not confirmed these rumors.

The company is known to be intent on extending its success globally, and CEO Robin Li has stated in the past that he wants Baidu to become a household name in at least half of the world.