This week's successful IPO by Russia's Yandex
Neither company has been able to duplicate that success outside of its own turf. Baidu launched in Japan a few years ago, but it's a small player there. Yandex has a presence in Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Belarus, but these small markets are unlikely to move the needle. In short, Baidu and Yandex lack the global breadth of Google
In a Bloomberg interview yesterday, Senior Vice President Haoyu Shen revealed that China's search engine of choice is working on products in a dozen foreign languages. Shen also told Bloomberg that Baidu wants to expand its search-engine agreement with Microsoft
Whether this means that Baidu plans to expand geographically on its own -- or with Microsoft as a partner throughout Asia -- the possibilities are intriguing.
Baidu simply won't find another opportunity as massive as China. It is the world's most populous nation, with the planet's largest base of Internet users to boot. However, the incremental kick that even lukewarm success in new territories could provide might be significant, should Baidu achieve profitability outside its home country.
Investor appetite for Chinese Internet companies hasn't been the same since news of the Alipay swindle broke two weeks ago. Alibaba's decision to transfer ownership of its popular Alipay payment service without compensating 43% stakeholder Yahoo! has awakened global investors fears of Chinese practices.
Yahoo! addressed the issue during yesterday's annual shareholder meeting, claiming that it was continuing to work toward an acceptable resolution. But if Baidu announced a major global expansion now, it would provide some degree of comfort to investors increasingly gunshy about Chinese Internet companies.
This may be a small world, but it's full of big opportunities for Baidu.
Can Baidu succeed outside of China? Share your thoughts in the comment box below.
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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has only been to China once, but he relishes admiring its dot-com revolution from afar. He does not own shares in any of the stocks in this article. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.