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Inside Baidu’s China Consultancy Business in Japan

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Dec. 18 2017, Updated 9:02 a.m. ET

Helping Japanese websites with China optimization

Baidu (BIDU) has launched a service that helps Japanese companies develop China-friendly websites. China (MCHI) is known to block its citizens from accessing certain foreign websites.

However, China’s Internet censorship can also frustrate offshore companies trying to reach Chinese consumers—especially those who wish to travel to countries where these foreign companies do business.

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A $261 billion market

If this Internet consultancy service in Japan is part of Baidu’s push into China’s outbound tourism market, the revenue opportunity could be significant. According to the UNWTO (United Nations World Tourism Organization), China sent 135 million tourists abroad in 2016. Spending by outbound Chinese tourists hit $261 billion in 2016, an increase of $11 billion over their 2015 spending.

Japan is a popular destination for Chinese tourists traveling abroad. According to JNTO (Japan National Tourism Organization), people from Chinese-speaking areas comprised more than 50% of tourist visits to Japan in 2016.

Competition heating up

However, competition for spending by outbound Chinese tourists is heating up. A few months ago, Alibaba (BABA) struck a deal with Verifone to expand its Alipay service in the US (SPY) as it eyes the market for Chinese visits to the US.

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