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Home  /  Inside China  /  Baidu and QQ aren't willing to remain outside the Chinese Social Network market
Baidu and QQ aren't willing to remain outside the Chinese Social Network market print version
Though social network isn't the flagship of their services, Tencent (QQ) and Baidu are becoming a major competition to Renren and Kaixin001 in the realm of Chinese social networks.
Baidu is known as the 'Chinese Google', being the largest search engine in China and the provider of numerous services, including a net encyclopedia (which can be regarded as the 'Chinese Wikipedia'), E-Commerce, book-reading services, etc. Recently, Baidu is discussing with Facebook the foundation of a Chinese format of the latter, which will be launched in China. Although it seems that registered users on this new social network wouldn't be able to associate with members of the international Facebook, in terms of applications and user-comfort, the Baidu Facebook will be similar to the original. Still, such negotiations are still premature and future developments are expected.

Baidu has no prominent competitors in the Chinese search engine market, though in social networking it still lags behind QQ, Renren and Kaixin001. While the collaboration with Facebook might allow Baidu to elevate beyond this blockage, Facebook will utilize the future cooperation as a tool to climb beyond the great wall of Chinese censorship, as Baidu is highly respected and protected by the Chinese leadership.

Another Chinese net giant which is in a different position than Baidu, but still shares some common objectives is Tencent QQ. Unlike Baidu, QQ has been a major player in the Chinese community-internet realm since it was established in 1999, becoming a hugely popular instant-messaging platform, currently approaching 650 million users. QQ doesn't need the social-network Facebook-look-a-like platform to remain successful, but Tencent managers are recently putting more and more efforts to become a legitimate competitor in the SN realm, using QQ's popularity to direct its users to a new attractive social network website.

Xiaoyou (校友- 'campus/school friends') was the social network Tencent established in 2009, evidently regarding students as the target crowd, in a similar manner to which Xiaonei (校内), the former version of Renren, did in the past. Xiaoyou had features which resemble Facebook, while other features are more associated with MySpace, such as the fact that users didn't have to register with their real identities. Pengyou (朋友 'friends' - pengyou.com) has become the substitute of Xiaoyou, launched in December 2010, as Tencent shifted towards the Facebook model.

The new site allows users to merge their QQ accounts with their Pengyou profiles, an option which is the biggest advantage QQ has over its SN competitors, as the potential within QQ users is enormous.

Instant messages, micro-blogs (weibo 微博) and now a strong SN site, are making Tencent confident of its future expansion. At the moment, Pengyou is still a significant distance behind Renren and Kaixin001, but considering the juvenility of Pengyou.com, it is expected to give a major fight to the two, while the Baidu's social network will also not be a vegetarian in this battle.

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