The Japanese version of Baidu Inc (ADR) (NASDAQ:BIDU) has come to the end of the road, shutting down operations after an unsuccessful attempt to battle Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) and Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) in Japan. Baidu is hopeful about making a comeback in Japan in future.
Launched in 2007, Baidu Japan has struggled for eight years to the point that the going has become so unbearable that the search serving is closing. Baidu confirmed the shutdown of its Japanese-language search service, but the company said that there was a possibility it could return to the market later in the future when situation allows.
When Baidu Inc (ADR) (NASDAQ:BIDU) started its international expansion in 2007, launching Baidu Japan in that process, the founder of the company boasted about their ability to succeed in Japan. Baidu’s founder, Robin Li, disclosed plans to spend $15 million to bolster their presence in Japan, but it seems very little if any has been able to come from such efforts.
Focus on global expansion
With trouble in Japan, attention is on Baidu’s international expansion in general for a sign that the company could be losing ground in the global market. When Baidu set its eyes on the global market, it hoped to replicate its success in China elsewhere, but Japan has now become a blot in the company’s international story.
Failed attempt in Japan
Google and Yahoo control nearly 90% of the search market in Japan. The situation was the same when Baidu Inc (ADR) (NASDAQ:BIDU) entered the market nearly eight years ago, meaning that Baidu failed to have any meaningful impact on the market. However, Baidu dominates in China thanks to the exit of Google from the market back in 2010.
Baidu’s Japanese search engine is shutting down but the company will retain its office and some operations in the market. The company has a keyboard app known as Simeiji that is usable on both Google’s Android and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s iOS platforms. The iOS downloads of Simeiji app are said to be about 14 million, making it one of the top app choices on App Store.
Because of Simeiji, Baidu Inc (ADR) (NASDAQ:BIDU) will not shutter its Japanese office.