Chinese internet giant Baidu (NASDAQ: BIDU) has integrated a shopping channel into its main app, allowing its 204 million daily active users to buy directly after searching.
The search engine started to attract e-commerce firms and consumer goods brands to open stores on its mini program platform in July 2019. Baidu also deepened ties with Software-as-a-Service vendor Youzan in August last year, which helps vendors set up and maintain online sales portals.
The standalone shopping channel is a strategic move that mirrors Baidu’s efforts in building its capabilities to serve companies and individuals in its mobile ecosystem, a spokesperson told KrASIA on Tuesday, referring to existing services such as Duxiaodian.
If a Baidu user activates the shopping channel and runs a search for “juice,” the app will show results of various juices from dozens of online malls including JD.com (NASDAQ: JD), Suning.com (SHZ: 002024), Alibaba’s (NYSE: BABA) cross-border platform Kaola, and also Baidu’s Duxiaodian. The product link will direct the user seamlessly to a corresponding site to finish the transaction. A simple search within the channel will only display or “livestream” products from Duxiaodian.
Although the new channel arrives just before the Singles’ Day shopping festival on November 11, the goods on offer are still very basic, from a limited amount of books to apples.
Although Baidu hopes that the search engine users will stay and shop directly on its platform, it remains to be seen if the firm can succeed in a market crowded with well-established players such as Alibaba, with 742 million active users, and Pinduoduo (NASDAQ: PDD), with 683 million consumers, as well as new challengers like the short video and livestreaming sites Douyin and Kuaishou.
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