China's homegrown Internet search engine Jike.com said on Wednesday that it will provide advertisement slots for the country's small and medium-sized enterprises, a move that was believed to be the first step for the State-controlled search portal to join market competition.
"We will vigorously face the challenges after the company launched its market operation strategies," said Deng Yaping, president of Jike.com. "We planned to provide more value-added contents to our users."
Jike.com said that it plans to provide free advertising services for up to 1,000 SMEs in the next three years.
Jike.com was jointly set up by the Party newspaper People's Daily and a listed company People's Daily Online in 2010. The website only featured news search functions initially, but it began to add more search results beginning last year, including Web pages, pictures and location-based services.
"Global search engines such as Baidu Inc and Google Inc have long dominated the search market. Start-up companies such as Jike.com have to find an emerging area to build up its power," said Cheng Congwu, CEO of US-listed IT company AutoNavi Holdings Ltd. "Mobile Internet could be a perfect sector for Jike.com to grow," Cheng said.
"Jike.com still has a long way to go compared with Baidu or Google," the company said in a statement, adding that the website is poised to "transmit information in a fair and barrier-free manner" and "provide the most natural search results to its users".