Baidu to bring Goya into Chinese living rooms with Spanish museums tie-up

Online content has taken off in China as the country shifts its economic growth model from investment and export to consumption

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 07 February, 2018, 11:13am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 07 February, 2018, 10:16pm

Chinese tourists in Europe almost always include a trip to Spain on their itinerary, where they can visit art museums and view masterpieces by painters including Picasso and Goya.

Now those who can’t make it to Spain can still see the works of art after China’s internet company Baidu said it will help more than 400 Spanish museums go digital, enabling Chinese art fans to admire their collections from the comfort of their own home.

The initiative is the latest effort by China’s largest search engine operator to scoop up premium content for users.

“We are going to bring history to the people,” Baidu vice-president Shen Dou said at the launch event held at the Spanish embassy in Beijing on Tuesday.

Baidu Baike, China’s answer to Wikipedia, launched a virtual 360-degree online viewing platform for terracotta warriors last May, allowing users to view the army of replica soldiers buried during the Qin dynasty more than 2,200 years ago.

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Online content has taken off in China in recent years as the country aims to shift its economic growth model from one that is investment and export driven to consumption driven. Premium content is seen as essential for increasing user stickiness as internet companies vie for digital advertising in the world’s largest smartphone and internet market.

Separately, Baidu on Tuesday announced a partnership with the official state news agency Xinhua to bring more original news content to Chinese readers and explore ways to consolidate content and big data into various channels including online search.

“We expect Baidu to be one of the top three players in the mobile newsfeed ad market, together with Toutiao and Tencent [Holding],” Jefferies equity analyst Karen Chan said in a research note last month.