Chinese search engine Baidu to launch mobile OS

China’s largest search engine provider Baidu has announced that it will launch its own mobile operating system.

The platform, which will be called Baidu Yi, is based on Google’s Android OS and is a “fork” of Android; when developers take a legal copy of source code from one software package and start independent development on it to create a distinct piece of software.

The company will allow third-party application developers to create apps for Baidu Yi, such as games, maps and other tools which they can distribute via a Baidu Yi app store.

The platform will also offer users 180Gb of storage space in the cloud to manage personal data such as e-mail, pictures and contacts,

Chinese research firm Analysys International reported that Baidu had 75.9 per cent of China’s market share in Q2, 2011, whereas Google China’s market share, which ranks second, recently dropped to just 18.9 per cent. Baidu’s share of the mobile search market, however, is less dominant, at just 35 per cent.

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