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A report out of China suggests that Microsoft is in talks with the country’s leading search engine, Baidu, for a partnership intended to strengthen the Redmond company’s position in the world’s most populous nation.

Business Insider spotted the rumor based on a tweet. The precise nature of the potential partnership is open to interpretation based on the translated article, but strong ties to Baidu could boost Microsoft’s search business in a part of the world where it has struggled.

Google, a distant No. 2 to Baidu in China, has been losing ground against Baidu since shifting its search servers out of mainland China last year in response to Chinese government censorship, following an online attack against the search giant believed to originate in the country.

Microsoft is partnering with Yahoo in search and search ads throughout much of the world, although their joint international rollout has been hampered by issues with Microsoft’s advertising system.

The Redmond company’s agreement to acquire Skype this past week, along with its Nokia partnership earlier this year, signaled its willingness to make big alliances and strike deals in an attempt to catch up in key markets where it has fallen behind.

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