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Baidu bringing its mobile browser to Africa

By , Editor, ITWeb Africa
Africa , 14 Jan 2013

Baidu bringing its mobile browser to Africa

China’s biggest search engine Baidu has signed a deal with France Telecom Orange to bring its mobile browser to Android smartphones sold in Africa and the Middle East.

The deal is planned to cover almost 20 countries in the region where Orange has over 70 million customers. Baidu has also signed on with the telco for one year, according to press statements. Markets where Orange operates include the likes of Kenya, Egypt and Ivory Coast.

Baidu’s browser, dubbed ‘El Browzer’, is planned to be made available in Arabic, English, and French in Africa and the Middle East.

France Telecom says that it plans to ship the first smartphones pre-loaded with the browser later this year.

But from today, Orange customers who own Android devices in the region, can point their phones to a link for a free download, says Orange.

“The appetite for mobile internet services is very strong in Africa, for example demand for Android devices in Egypt has doubled in the second half of this year,” Orange’s senior vice president for Africa, the Middle East and Asia, Marc Rennard, said in an announcement:

“Price and access have been a barrier to entry, but partnering with innovative companies like Baidu provide unique solutions that give our customers affordable access to all the services they desire without compromising on features or ease-of-use,” added Rennard.

Orange is the third largest telco on the continent following MTN with 164 million users and Vodafone with 92 million subscribers, according to the Financial Times

Orange further aims to take its total number of users in the region to 300 million, with sales of $9.4 billion by 2015, according to the company.

Baidu joins other prominent Chinese tech companies, such as telecommunications equipment firms Huawei and ZTE, in expanding on the African continent.

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