Still depositing your money in the bank? In China, you would be laughed at by your friends, who are either buying wealth management products or rushing into the online currency funds offered by the three internet giants – Alibaba, Tencent and Baidu.

In response, the “big five” national banks – Bank of China, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, China Construction Bank, Agricultural Bank of China and Bank of Communications – have had to raise savers rates to the upper limit set by the central bank in an attempt to keep their depositors’ money. Read more

Baidu, China’s dominant search engine, started its online financial service on Monday in an attempt to compete with rivals such as Alibaba, who have already pushed aggressively into Chinese financial sector. It wasn’t exactly smooth running.

Baidu’s financial services platform made its debut on October 28, introducing a financial product in conjunction with China Asset Management, which was offering an 8 per cent annual return in its original promotional material. However, the ad fell foul of the financial regulator, and the site was overwhelmed with traffic. The missteps show how much of a rush the big internet companies are to get into online finance. Read more

Now that Alibaba, China’s biggest ecommerce company, has abandoned plans for a $60bn IPO in Hong Kong and is turning instead to the US equities market, a scramble for territory among the Chinese IT triumvirate known as the BAT (for Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent) can only intensify. Read more

The battle between China’s internet giants ratcheted up another notch this week after Tencent – the sector leader with a market capitalisation of over $100bn – snapped up a minority stake in Sohu’s Sogou search engine unit for $448m.

The deal, which will give Tencent a 36.5 per cent stake in Sogou, is aimed at expanding the former’s presence in China’s fast growing mobile internet market. The transaction is also the latest shot fired in an ongoing rivalry between Tencent, Alibaba and Baidu for online supremacy in China. Read more

Chinese search engine giant Baidu plans to buy the entire share capital of NetDragon Websoft’s subsidiary 91 Wireless for $1.9bn (HK$14.74bn), making it the biggest acquisition deal in China’s internet industry if it succeeds.

NetDragon, an online game development and mobile internet business based in Fujian Province, said on Tuesday that Baidu had signed a memorandum of understanding to buy its 57.41 per cent stake in 91 Wireless for $1.09bn (HK$8.46bn) on July 15. Baidu has offered to buy out the other shareholders on the same terms. Read more

Five years ago, few Vietnamese owned a smartphone with internet access. Now, wireless networks, 3G services and iPads are in use on every street corner. Vietnam, a country of 90m people, a third of whom use the internet, seems to be a promising land for web start-up businesses. But a web start-up like Coc Coc, whose aim is to beat Google, is rare. Read more

Jack Ma is back in action. Less than three weeks after giving up management control at Alibaba, the founder of the Chinese internet giant is back in the headlines with a Rmb100bn-plus logistics infrastructure project called Cainiao Network Technology.

Ma will be the chairman of China Smart Logistic Network (CSN), a consortium which will develop a parcel shipping network that can help deliver online shopping in 2000 cities within 24 hours. Good news for Chinese consumers – and for Chinese internet companies. Read more

China’s search giant Baidu announced on Monday that it has partnered with France Telecom-Orange to launch a co-branded browser for low-cost smartphone users across Africa and the Middle East.

The service compresses data to provide customers with a faster, more data-efficient service, while reducing the traffic on Orange networks at the same time. Launching in English and Arabic, it offers one-click access to web-based apps and internet services like Facebook and Twitter. Sounds good, but so what? Read more

The clash between the US Securities and Exchange Commission and China over accounting regulatory standards probably won’t come to a head for another ten months. But the prospect that the SEC’s high-profile attack on the Chinese affiliates of the Big Four and BDO could lead to a wholesale delisting of Chinese companies from the US stock market appeared enough to spook investors. Read more

The story of Baidu has long been slightly boring, as market share, revenues and profits of China’s largest online search engine company never went other than up, up, up.

But this may be changing. As Baidu, which is listed on Nasdaq, is set to report third-quarter earnings after US market close next Monday, investors are bracing for news on how deep exactly the company’s latest competition has been cutting into its business. Read more

More reports that Baidu, China’s biggest search engine, is launching in Brazil.

There are plenty of reasons to come to Latin America’s biggest economy, where internet use is rising rapidly, driven by social media.

But that still begs the question of how Baidu will differentiate itself in Latin America. Read more

What China slowdown? Baidu, the country’s top search engine, has taken full advantage of Google’s partial retreat from China and reported impressive results in the third quarter that came in ahead of analyst expectations.

Total revenues, at Rmb4.18bn (US$655m) are up 22 per cent compared to the last quarter, and 85 per cent from a year ago. Combine that with a 57 per cent operating margin, and it’s pretty clear that Baidu sits squarely upon a very attractive piece of the Chinese internet market. Read more

Google’s share of the Chinese online search market is plummeting, but the company’s staff in China comfort themselves with the thought that they are the champion of hearts. “The people love Google,” says John Liu, the company’s vice president for Greater China operations.

But it turns out that the Chinese people love Baidu more. According to WPP, the global marketing group, Chinese consumers have much stronger emotional ties to the brand of the local hero than to Google. Read more

Emerging markets may be all the rage with bankers and investors, but as a 2010 Freedom House report published yesterday reveals, political activists have reason to be concerned about political rights in these countries. Investors might want to take heed as well. Read more

baidu chartIf Google needed further proof of what it is missing out on after winding back in China – the world’s biggest internet market – then it should look no further than Baidu’s results.

After producing forecast-smashing numbers for the first quarter, China’s leading online search engine on Thursday released a rosy outlook for the following three months, as the FT’s Kathrin Hille reports.

Robin Li, Baidu’s chairman and chief executive, said the Nasdaq-listed company had benefited from Google’s “semi-exit” from mainland China. In March, the US company moved its mainland China web search operation to Hong Kong over censorship issues. Since then, Baidu has been able to charge advertisers more, analysts say. Read more