China's leading search engine is building a new office in southern China dedicated to Baidu's international pursuits. The new center in Shenzhen won't open for three years, but it's another step in the dot-com darling's push to be seen as more than just China's search engine of choice.
Baidu rolled into Japan in 2008, but it hasn't made much of a dent. Japan is too established. It's one of the few countries where Yahoo!
Last year, Baidu revealed that it plans on introducing its search platform in a dozen different foreign languages. Products in Arabic and Thai debuted four months ago, and more will clearly follow.
Is it too late for Baidu? Companies have been successful outside of their home market. Russia's Yandex
However, there's something to be said about stepping into a country where the medals have already been doled out. Sure, Google was an underdog to Yahoo! in the U.S. once, but the entire market is far more established and defined these days.
Baidu's best shot is reaching out to countries doing business with China. Sure, it can always cook up a proprietary hit that goes viral globally. Who would have figured that China's SINA
However, Baidu investors need to be realistic. The international endeavors will be incremental, but it will take years for them to move the needle (if they move the needle at all).
Thankfully, this is something that Baidu doesn't need to move its stock higher.
Shares of Baidu are fetching just 28 times this year's projected profitability. That may not seem cheap, but keep in mind that analysts see the Chinese speedster growing revenue and earnings by 56% and 54%, respectively, this year.
A bullish call on Baidu has served me well on Motley Fool CAPS over the years. True to the CAPScall initiative, I'm not going to give up on it now when I see the value so compelling. Whether it proves to be a mad world or a small world for Baidu, growth in China alone will be enough to keep Baidu coasting along nicely.