Alibaba muscles in on online search

Chinese e-commerce giant's cloud computing unit, Aliyun, unveils a new search engine to challenge existing operators such as Baidu and Qihoo 360.

China's online search market has a new entrant after e-commerce giant Alibaba's cloud computing business unit launched a search engine Monday.

Alibaba's cloud computing unit launches a new search engine. (Credit: ZDNet)

A report by Chinese tech news site said Alibaba's Aliyun Search includes search for Web pages, news, images and maps.

In a statement to ZDNet Asia, an Aliyun spokesperson said: "Aliyun Search is a product developed and maintained by the Aliyun Business Unit under Alibaba Group." The spokesperson did not share if the service was a new product from the team and how it will compete with market leader Baidu.

In a ZDNet Asia report published January, an analyst shared that the Chinese search engine market was dominated by Baidu, which has around 80 percent in 2012. The other players in the top 5 ranking include Qihoo 360, Sougou, Google and Soso.

Qihoo 360 managed to obtain second place a month after its launch in August 2012.