Chinese Search Giant Baidu Goes Into Africa With Smartphone Browser

The browser, a collaboration with France Telecom, will be pre-installed in many of the cheap smartphones on offer in the telco's African network.

Baidu and France Telecom are collaborating on a low-end smartphone browser for Africa. The browser, which will launch in Egypt, will be pre-installed on phones sold by France Telecom, which already has around 80 million African customers, on the continent. The move means that the Chinese search giant will become part of what is an already huge Sino-centric presence.

Due to slow data speeds on African networks, it is hard to browse the web. This Franco-Chinese collaboration would use special code which reduces the amount of data packets needed to browse sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Non-France Telecom users will be able to access the browser via both a download and an SMS message. Last year, Google debuted an SMS feature in Ghana, Nigeria, and Kenya, funneling emails through SMS.

[Image by Flickr user kiwanja]

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  • James Francis

    This should be interesting. Baidu is in many ways as big and bigger than Google. It is certainly not a startup. And Western companies are quite inept in understanding the latency and bandwidth challenges of places such as Africa. We might look back at this moment one day and truly grasp its significance.