Baidu, JD in pact to send search users straight to the checkout

BEIJINGBaidu Inc, China’s largest search engine, has struck a deal to funnel users looking for products to online retailer Inc.

Under the arrangement, users browsing for product information on Baidu’s mobile search app can now access a dedicated section to buy items directly from JD, China’s second-largest e-commerce provider. By encouraging users to stay within its app and make purchases, the search giant can glean valuable data on its customers’ preferences.

That data helps build systems providing everything from personalised ads and product suggestions to news feeds that stream videos and articles based on individual tastes.

“Baidu can use its advantages in information to help JD greatly shorten the time between spotting an item to actual purchase,” Baidu said in a statement. “This improves efficiency, reduces marketing costs but also enhances the shopping experience.”

It wasn’t clear how many of the million-plus items listed on JD’s site will be immediately available. But in the longer term, a deal with JD could help Baidu get ad revenue growth back on track.

JD in turn is trying to ramp up sales and the advertising dollars it gets from merchants and brands. It has a similar arrangement with news aggregation provider Jinri Toutiao, and last month signed a data-sharing deal with marketing tracker Nielsen Holdings plc to help advertisers track the Internet browsing of shoppers. — Bloomberg