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Microsoft today confirmed an expanded partnership with China’s largest search engine, Baidu, to provide English search results to Baidu users in the country. The arrangement promises to give the Redmond company’s Bing search engine a bigger role in the world’s most populous nation.

Microsoft, which previously partnered with Baidu on paid search results, issued this statement about the expanded Baidu relationship: “Baidu and Microsoft announced that Bing, Microsoft’s decision engine, will provide English search results to Baidu users in China. The search results powered by Bing will begin appearing on Baidu search result webpage starting in July 2011.”

The agreement comes as Google’s influence in the country wanes, following the search giant’s decision to shift its servers in the region out of mainland China to Hong Kong. That move allowed Google to deliver uncensored search results to users in China, taking a stand against government censorship following an online attack against the company believed to have originated in the country.

The New York Times reports that the Bing-powered search results “will undoubtedly be censored, since Beijing maintains strict controls over Internet companies and requires those operating on the mainland to censor results the government deems dangerous or troublesome, including references to human rights issues and dissidents.”

Microsoft is partnering with Yahoo in the U.S. and other parts of the world in an attempt to gain traction against Google in the search business. Google has about 65 percent of the U.S. search market, compared with a combined 30 percent for Yahoo and Bing.


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