Baidu Inc (ADR) (NASDAQ:BIDU) is undoubtedly the top dog in Chinese Internet search market. But the company is facing stiff competition from Qihoo 360 Technology Co Ltd (NYSE:QIHU). Qihoo entered the search business just two years ago, and now commands 25% market share in the world’s most populous country. That compelled Baidu to expand its reach in other online categories.
Baidu Maps becomes the top mapping app in China
Last year, Baidu Inc (ADR) (NASDAQ:BIDU) paid a whopping $1.9 billion to acquire the mobile app store 91 Wireless. In April, the Beijing-based company launched its own mobile payment platform Baidu Wallet. It has also acquired online video platform PPS for $370 million. This year, the company has been quiet on acquisitions. Instead, it is pursuing its own web-initiatives such as mobile and cloud businesses and location-based search services.
The Chinese company’s web initiatives have begun to pay off. According to research firm Enfodesk, Baidu Map became the top mapping app in China during the first quarter of this year. That’s a huge achievement for Baidu Inc (ADR) (NASDAQ:BIDU) because the Chinese mobile app download market is dominated by mapping apps. In 2013, map apps accounted for 83% of the total mobile app download market, reports Enfodesk. Deutsche Bank analysts Alan Hellawell and Vivian Hao said in a research note that location-based services (LBS) have started gathering steam. The research firm expects Baidu to keep leading the mobile map market because of its strategic focus on LBS.
Baidu making inroads into Qihoo’s stronghold
That’s not all, Baidu Inc (ADR) (NASDAQ:BIDU) has started making inroads into Qihoo 360 Technology Co Ltd (NYSE:QIHU)’s stronghold. Baidu Antivirus was recently named the best antivirus by software analytics firm AC-Comparative. Antivirus is one of the two strong areas of Qihoo 360, with Internet browser being another. Baidu’s ability to win accolades should help the company snatch some online security market share from Qihoo 360.
Baidu Inc (ADR) (NASDAQ:BIDU) stock has show little growth this year. But it has gained 86% in the past 12 months. The company continues to grow exponentially. Analysts expect Baidu’s revenues to soar 52% this year.