Following several years' operation in the Japanese market, Chinese search engine company Baidu announced a decision to close its Japanese search engine service Baidu.jp.
A spokesperson from Baidu confirmed that the Japanese search engine has been shut down. However, the spokesperson quoted in local Chinese media said they will not rule out the possibility to re-launch the services in the future or provide search services via other platforms in Japan.
According to public files, Baidu announced its international strategy in 2006 and took the Japanese market as its first stop outside China. In March 2007, the company started testing in Japan and the services were formally launched on January 23, 2008.
Commenting on choosing Japan as the first stop, Robin Li, chairman of Baidu, once explained that competition in the Japanese market was not too severe and its structure was stable for several years, with the search market shared by Yahoo and Google. Li said that both companies were non-Japanese companies and it would be better for Japanese consumers to have one more option.
After many years of operation, Baidu admitted that it is obvious their Japanese search engine did not attract a lot of users. Disregarding the closure of Baidu.jp, the Chinese company will maintain its office in Japan and continue to promote its Simeiji app, which is a keyboard app for Japanese input on iOS and Android devices.