China’s Baidu releases new mobile browser

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BEIJING (AP) - Baidu Inc., which operates China’s most popular search engine, has released a mobile browser and says it will invest in a cloud computing center as growth in Internet use shifts to mobile phones.

Baidu dominates China’s Internet search market but has been slower than some competitors such as Tencent and UCWeb to expand in mobile Web access.

China has the world’s most populous Internet market and the number of people who go online via mobile phones and tablet computers is growing twice as fast as the overall market.

Baidu said the newest version of its browser will support faster Internet access and downloads and allow users to run Web-based applications. The company said it will create a cloud computing center to support its mobile initiative but released no technical details.

“The cloud-supported mobile Internet is the focus of the next wave of innovation,” said chairman Robin Li at the company’s annual conference this week.

China had 538 million people online at the end of July, up 11 percent from a year earlier, according to the China Internet Network Information Center, a government-authorized industry group. The number of mobile Internet users rose 22 percent to 388 million, or more than 70 percent of the total.

Baidu had 78.6 percent of China’s search market in the second quarter of this year, far ahead of second-place Google Inc. with 15.7 percent, according to Analysys International, a research firm.

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