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Baidu has formally launched its ecommerce site Baidu Mall.
Speculation around the online sales platform first started in April this year, with the actual launch only happening recently, and with minimal media coverage – possibly following the failures of Baidu's two previous attempts at cracking the ecommerce market.
The Chinese ecommerce market is dominated by local giants Alibaba and JD, so Baidu Mall has taken a different approach and appears to be targeting the high-end goods market, rather than directly challenging its rivals in the mainstream ecommerce market.
Baidu has also recently invested an undisclosed amount of money in the imported goods ecommerce app Bolome, prompting rumours that Baidu Mall was working to attract foreign retailers to its platform.
Recent research by the China Internet Network and Information Centre revealed that Chinese online shoppers perceive foreign retailers as having better quality products.
Baidu is most well-known for its search engine of the same name, which is the most popular in China with a market share of around 60%.