Apple Changing iPhone Search Engine in China

Apple is reportedly making big plans for mobile search in China.

On Friday, Bloomberg dished on Apple’s supposed intention to add Baidu’s popular and thriving search engine on iPhones in China.

Sources close to the matter assert that Apple is doing so as a means to “broaden its services and user base in the world’s most-populous nation.”

Adding Baidu is the latest example of Apple diminishing its dependence on Google’s products. Apple plans to unveil a mapping application next week that will come pre- installed on its iPhones and iPad tablets, replacing Google Maps, said a person with knowledge of the matter who isn’t authorized to speak publicly about it.

As of this writing, Baidu already accommodates roughly 80 percent of all of China’s Internet search queries.

The formal announcement from Apple could come as early as next week, as the iPhone maker kicks of its annual developers conference (WWDC 2012).

“This is definitely going to help Baidu,” Joshua Maa, chief executive officer at Madhouse, tells Bloomberg.