China's largest search engine Baidu broke ground this morning on a new office for its international operations, reflecting its ambitions to expand quickly in global markets.
Baidu's new International Building will be located in the Chinese city of Shenzhen and is scheduled to be completed in 2015. The 220,000 square metre facility occupies more than twice the space of the company's current headquarters in Beijing, and has enough room to accommodate 10,000 employees.
Baidu, which dominates the search business in China, has made moves in the past to enter internet markets abroad. In 2007, the company launched a search engine in Japan. Last year, it launched web directory and question-and-answer services for users in Egypt, Thailand and Vietnam.
The Chinese search giant said in May it was developing a multi-language platform for foreign markets, without elaborating.
Baidu's new building will also serve its southern China operations, and have a research centre focused on developing the company's mobile internet products. Baidu and Dell are selling a new smartphone in China that uses the "Baidu Yi" platform, a Linux-based OS loaded with the search giant's products.
Baidu's employee count has grown quickly in the last few years. The company currently has 15,000 employees, up from just under 7,000 in 2009, according to Baidu spokesman Kaiser Kuo.