Baidu aims to promote Chinese interests in global web body

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 15 September, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 15 September, 2011, 12:00am


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Baidu, the mainland's top internet search provider, hopes its recent membership in the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) will help in the development of online standards suited to Chinese users.

The Beijing-based company announced yesterday that it became the first Chinese internet firm to join the consortium, founded in 1994 by Tim Berners-Lee, the British computer scientist credited with inventing the web.

Jeff Jaffe, the consortium's CEO, said Baidu's decision to join W3C would help the international organisation 'better serve the needs of the entire [Chinese] community', from web standards to 'issues that are critical to China such as multilingual support and text layout'.

Chinese is the second most widely used language on the internet after English.

'We hope to ensure that the interests of Chinese internet companies, webmasters, developers and nearly 500 million [mainland] online users are well represented, and incorporated into standards,' said Alex Cheng, Baidu's executive director for monetised products.

Baidu handles more than 82 per cent of all internet search queries on the mainland. The company recently introduced a new online concept called 'box computing', which uses semantic analysis and other advanced tools to fine-tune internet searches, helping users search for information, content or applications with greater precision.

The W3C's more than 300 members - including major tech firms Apple, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, IBM, Yahoo and Nokia - develop standards to ensure long-term growth for the web.

Other mainland firms that joined W3C are telecommunications operator China Unicom and research institutions such as the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Zhejiang University and Beihang University, previously known as the Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics.