China’s largest search engine by market share Baidu has officially opened a research lab with Singapore’s Institute for Infocomm Research (I2R), in a move aimed at expanding the former’s footprint in Southeast Asia.
The facility will research human language technologies, with a focus on Southeast Asian languages. The collaboration involves Baidu licensing I2R’s technologies in Vietnamese and Thai.
I2R is a research institute under the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) that conducts R&D in information and communications technologies.
A*STAR Chairman Lim Chuan Poh said at the lab’s opening that the collaboration is expected to benefit mobile device users in Asia so netizens in Southeast Asia gain the best possible search experience using their native languages.
The lab also enhanced I2R’s speaker verification technology to suit Baidu’s mobile cloud platform so users can enjoy more personalized services from the partnership.
Baidu VP Mengqiu Wang said the collaboration hopes to extend the Chinese company’s success in the China market to other countries in the region by understanding and catering to the needs of local users.
The facility is Baidu’s first overseas joint laboratory. The search giant’s other forays outside of China include plans to set up an office in Brazil and launching its search service in Japan in 2007, where it remains a small player in the country’s search market.
According to figures Baidu provided to the US Securities and Exchange Commission in 2011, the Chinese company lost 680 million yuan ($106.5 million) from operations outside its home country from 2008 to 2010.