Microsoft has signed a deal with Baidu, the biggest search engine in China, to provide English-language search results. However the results will be censored to within nine inches of their lives to prevent Chinese people finding out things that the government does not want them to discover.
Redmond has been struggling to boost the position of its Bing search engine against Google's dominance in almost every country around the world. It will also be a boost for Baidu, which wants a bigger international presence. Baidu has 83 per cent of the Chinese search market, but there are also up to 10m English searches per day, the company said.
Even Google has nearly 20 per cent counting visits to its offshore sites, making it the second-biggest in China. Yahoo has six per cent and Microsoft's Bing 4 per cent, according to Net Applications.
From now all English-language searches to Baidu will be redirected through Bing. Bing already filters out results in China relating to controversial subjects, such as political dissidents, Taiwan or porn, which has not really made much impact in the country. Kaiser Kuo, a spokesman for Baidu, said that Bing searches would not be censored any more "than they already do".