Alibaba is the latest firm to challenge Baidu (BIDU): the e-commerce giant, 23%-owned by YHOO,...

|By:, SA News Editor

Alibaba is the latest firm to challenge Baidu (BIDU): the e-commerce giant, 23%-owned by YHOO, has launched a search engine that encompasses Web, image, news, and (AMAP-powered) map queries. Unlike QIHU, which has grabbed ~10% of the Chinese market since August, Alibaba doesn't have a popular browser to drive traffic, but it does have several popular shopping sites and the eTao shopping engine. The launch comes as top rival 360buy closes a $700M funding round at a reported $7.25B valuation, a possible stepping stone to an IPO.