Is Baidu About to Launch a New Social Network in Vietnam?

Vietnamese IT sites and bulletin boards are all a-twitter with the news that Chinese search giant Baidu is about to launch a new social network in Vietnam. Many sites have the suggested the service we be called Baidu Tra da quan -- which apparently means Baidu ice tea shop -- and more than a few have also pointed out that Vietnam's Ministry of Information and Communication hasn't received any application from Baidu to run the service, so launching it would be illegal. We've contacted Baidu representatives for comment, but have yet to hear back. Personally, I think it's unlikely Baidu would be planning to knowingly violate Vietnamese law, but I suppose we'll find out soon enough! Regardless of whether the social network rumors are true, it's quite clear that Baidu has plans for Vietnam. Last year, the company launched a portal site and a Vietnamese version of its Baidu Zhidao service in Vietnam, and it also offers a media player product there (we're not sure how new that is). Online rumors also have it that Baidu is planning two new search products for Vietnam as well as a music service, apparently to be called "qianqian." Again, Baidu hasn't confirmed any of this, but we did a little digging and found this job listing for two music-and-social-related positions at Baidu Vietnam, so the company is definitely working on something musical and social for the country. (In the ad, the "SNS" product is referred to as Forum, for whatever that's worth. We wonder if it isn't something like Baidu's Tieba forum service in China). [via VietnamNet]

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