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Baidu Learns from Critics to Improve Its News Service

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Jun. 28 2019, Updated 12:26 p.m. ET

Baidu fixes news service 

Baidu (BIDU) upgraded its online news service to expand news search options for users, according to a report from Caixin Global. The upgrade followed criticism early this year. Critics said that Baidu was favoring its own news aggregation service in surfacing news article results. People had a hard time accessing high-quality news stories.

By upgrading the news service, Baidu added a functionality that allows people to bypass its Baijiahao news aggregation service when looking for news stories on its platform.

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Baidu hopes to regain ground 

Baidu is China’s top search engine company. Baidu controlled a 64.6% share of the market in May, according to data from StatCounter. Sogou (SOGO) and Alibaba-owned (BABA) Shenma held an 18.3% and 8.0% share of the Chinese search engine market in May. Haosou, Google (GOOGL), and Microsoft’s (MSFT) Bing held a 3.3%, 3.2%, and 2.5% share of the Chinese search engine market in May. Sogou has been adopted by Tencent (TCEHY) as the default search engine in many of its apps. Google’s market share is due to its presence in Hong Kong. However, the company doesn’t operate a search service in Mainland China.

Although Baidu is still the top search engine company in China, it’s under immense pressure to defend its turf. Baidu’s share of the Chinese search engine market has been shrinking in recent months. Baidu’s share of the Chinese search engine market was 70% in April and 75% in February. Perhaps addressing complaints about the news service search could help Baidu regain ground in China’s online search market.

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