Already holding a dominating lead in desktop search, China's Baidu today continued its push to extend that advantage into mobile with the launch of a web browser that runs on the company's forked Android OS. Though just out of the gate, Baidu is aiming to have Chinese carriers load the browser on up to 80 percent of smartphones by year's end, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal. For once, the company faces an uphill battle in doing so: competitors Tencent Holdings and UCWeb each hold commanding portions of the mobile browser market in China, though it wouldn't surprise us to see Baidu make up ground swiftly. It claims the new browser to be 20 percent faster than alternatives like Android's default browser and Safari.
Baidu has also taken cues from Google with a renewed push to improve its cloud offerings, claiming it will invest approximately 10 billion yuan ($1.6 billion) in a data center. The company didn't share specifics on the project, but did announce plans to distribute new tools that will grant third-party developers access both to Baidu's Google Maps equivalent and its cloud storage utilities. Despite an Android-centric focus, Baidu also stands to benefit from Apple's upcoming release of iOS 6, which integrates the company among other search providers on iPhones and iPads. OS X Mountain Lion added similar functionality for Macs when it launched July 25th.