Baidu's browser heads to Africa and Middle East with Orange deal

Summary:Android phones in Orange's markets in the Middle East and Africa are to get a co-branded version of Baidu's mobile browser installed by default.

Baidu has struck a deal with Orange to take its mobile browser into Africa and Middle East.

browser-baidu-orange
Image: Orange

Under the agreement, France Telecom mobile subsidiary Orange will pre-install Baidu's browser on Android mobile phones sold in the region, where Orange has around 80 million subscribers.

The deal marks the latest effort by Baidu to grow its business beyond its Chinese homeland, where it has an 80-percent share of the search market, and expand the reach of its mobile offerings. While the company's traditional business and biggest cash cow is search, it's been putting an increasing focus on mobile with the launch last year of its own browser and OS.

France Telecom is equally looking to the Middle East and Africa for expansion, and is planning to enter new markets on the continent including Algeria, Benin, Libya and Togo, according to Reuters, having already established operations in 21 countries in the region.

As well as pre-installing the co-branded browser on new phones, the pair will offer the browser to existing Android users as a download.

The first country on the hitlist will be Egypt, where customers of Orange's local network Mobinil will be able to get the browser. More markets in the region will follow in 2013.

The browser will initially be available in Arabic and English, with a French language version to come in the future.

Topics: Android, China, Mobility, Smartphones

About

Jo Best has been covering IT for the best part of a decade for publications including silicon.com, Guardian Government Computing and ZDNet in both London and Sydney.

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