Baidu is the China’s largest internet-search services provider. The good news is that it has launched its own security software for Android-based smartphones, making a rival againts Qihoo 360 Technology squarely in its crosshairs.
The start of Baidu Mobile Guardian in Beijing last December 18, 2013 resulted to the company’s acquisition of TrustGo for a reported US$30 million in February this year. TrustGo is a California-based mobile-security company.
Baidu’s competition with Qihoo has intensified; this competition started in 2005 as a supplier of anti-virus software online and expanded to become a strong No2 internet search provider in China last year. Analysys International said Baidu had a combined 72.1 per cent share of the country’s desktop and mobile search market at the end of September, followed by Qihoo with a 14.2 per cent share.
Mobile Guardian was designed to fight “a deteriorating security environment for Android smartphone users in China”, where 70 per cent of about 100,000 virus-carrying mobile apps were found to be charging users a fee without their knowledge, Zhang Lei, the general manager at Baidu’s mobile-security product team said.
“This year, 14 million users were affected and the direct losses amounted to 70 million yuan [HK$89 million],” he said.
Mobile Guardian scans for malicious fee-charging apps and deletes them, it includes as well an “anti-scam function” to identify mobile base stations and block messages sent by fake telecommunications service providers and banks.
However Baidu’s software faces rigid competition. According to a Barclays report, Qihoo’s mobile-security software had 338 million smartphone users at the end of June, up from 120 million a year earlier.