China's Baidu to bring free cloud storage to devices built with Qualcomm chips

In September, Baidu declared China's mobile Internet space as its main focus for further growth

China's largest search engine Baidu said on Monday the company would provide 30GB of free cloud storage to Android devices built with certain Qualcomm chips, in what's the latest move by the company to carve out a presence in the country's mobile services sector.

Baidu's limited-time offer applies in China to two of Qualcomm's latest chips, the Snapdragon S4 MSM 8x25 processor, and the Snapdragon S4 MSM 8x25Q processor. Users activating Baidu's cloud service will receive 15GB of free cloud storage over the device's lifetime, and an additional 15GB of storage free for one year.

Beginning Monday phones containing the chips, from Chinese manufacturers including Lenovo and Huawei, will ship with the free Baidu cloud storage enabled as a result of the partnership with Qualcomm.

Baidu is offering the free storage after the company in September declared China's mobile Internet space as its next major focus, and announced a US$1.6 billion investment to build a new cloud computing center.

The company is best known as the leader of China's PC-based search market, where it bested rival Google. But in the country's mobile Internet market, Baidu has yet to achieve the same level of dominance as competition among rivals remains fierce.

Already, Baidu has a major foothold among China's smartphone users by pre-installing its Baidu search on Android phones and Apple devices sold in the country. It's also partnered with companies including Dell to launch three handsets in the country installed with its "Baidu Cloud" platform, which features Baidu apps such as its map services, online browser, music and others.

Monday's partnership with Qualcomm only involves bringing Baidu's cloud storage to Android devices, said Baidu spokesman Kaiser Kuo. But in the coming weeks and months, the company plans to announce more partnerships with handset vendors to launch smartphones in China using its Baidu Cloud platform, he added.

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