Baidu allows brands to create their own mobile websites for free using the Site App

Coming from Europe contrary to Cecilia Wu, I've always used Google for everyday search. It's only when I arrived in China that I started using Baidu and dropped Google for good, at least in China. Baidu has so many tools which cannot be found anywhere else! I was quiclky seduced, and started to dig into its functionalities a bit further. One of its mobile-centric tools caught me, as I bumped into it quite often these past few months.

Have you already discovered this little Baidu logo appearing at the bottom of your page while Baidu browsing on your mobile device?  Lot of websites has recently been reorganized into Web App, half way in between an App and a mobile site, Baidu created Web Apps. It is quite an interesting move as it engages further into the war for mobile internet traffic.

As you may have seen from the infographic of our previous newsletters, the mobile revolution has come into full fruition in the past 2 years. With 1.4 billion smartphones to be activated this year, it is no wonder that the mobile internet market is more attractive than ever, engaging so many players into the fight, and Baidu made quite a big jump here.

What do we currently have on mobile internet? Four categories are standing: desktop websites not adapted for mobile navigation; responsive design websites which adapt to the mobile screen, websites designed natively for mobile devices, and last but not least, mobile apps.

The first category is not an option anymore since mobile internet browsing is more prevalent than ever here in China. Optimizing for mobiles is now a must-have for brands. The problem is, the last three options are costly for brands, and most of them do not dare to jump into the investment.

That's where Baidu comes into the picture with a fifth category called the Web App. It allows brands to create their own mobile websites for free using the Site App. It's capable of turning any dinky website into a swanky web app without spending the cost of creating a mobile site or an actual application. For many brands without the budget, it is a first step to secure their mobile presence online. The service is quite basic for now; it supports Baidu analytic, improves the ranking, auto-sync of content and provides multiple sets of templates, although it has just been updated with new features.

With Site App, Baidu has positioned itself well in the ongoing transition of brands to mobile, but there's plenty of room for innovation. I will keep you posted.

Domitille Guez