China’s most popular search engine Baidu.com said it plans to launch an instant messaging service. The marketing division of Baidu wasn’t really in a creative mood when they made up the name, as it will be ‘Baidu Hi’. Baidu is currently recruiting personnel to take care of the product design, research and testing.
“We are very excited to enter the IM market in China,” said Haoyu Shen, Baidu’s vice president of business operations in a statement. “The Internet is playing an increasingly important role in people’s lives in China, and we are constantly looking for ways to bring more convenience and functionality to our users. With Baidu’s strengths in creating online communities, and with our suite of popular products such as Baidu Knows, Baidu Post Bar and Baidu Space, we are confident that Baidu Hi will become a strong competitor in China’s IM market.”
If I worked at eBuddy or Meebo, I’d be delighted to hear this news. Since this will probably stimulate more Chinese people to start using instant messaging. As soon as the two companies have found a way to integrate this new IM service, the number of users might grow enormously.
Update: The guys from Wakoopa mailed us a scoop. The Baidu im-service will be client-based. Software service Wakoopa tracked four people using a ‘IM tool from Baidu.com, Inc.’ for 8 minutes and 58 seconds.