Baidu targets mobile sector with cloud center, mobile browser

Chinese search giant will invest US$1.6 billion to build a cloud computing facility, and also unveiled a new mobile Web browser to capitalize on China's booming mobile sector.

Baidu has announced plans to invest in a new cloud computing center and unveiled a mobile Web browser as part of its strategy to tap China's mobile market.

The Chinese company said at the Baidu Technology Innovation Forum held in Beijing on Monday it would invest about 10 billion yuan (US$1.6 billion) to build the cloud facility, Reuters reported on Monday.

According to Baidu, cloud computing is the heart of its mobile strategy to capitalize on the booming sector in China. However, details on where the center will be located or how the company was planning to pay for the investment were not revealed.

Baidu also introduced a new mobile Web browser offering its range of services, fast downloads and applications that can run directly in the browser.

The mobile browser will compete with UCWeb's UC Browser, Google's Chrome, default browsers in Android devices and Apple's Safari, and is about 20 percent faster than its rivals based on internal tests, said Li Mingyuan, Baidu's general manager of mobile and cloud computing, at a pre-launch briefing on Friday, according to Reuters.

The browser, along with Baidu's other mobile products such as its mobile operating system and low-cost smartphones , forms what the Chinese company hopes will eventually be a source of revenue, Li said.

This announcement comes on the heels of Qihoo 360 Technology's entrance into China's search market in August, as it r eplaces Google with its own newly launched search engine .