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Baidu unveils app platform without the downloads


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Tim Ferguson

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Chinese search giant Baidu launched a new way for consumers to use mobile apps without needing to download them, China Daily reports.

The Light Apps distribution platform allows users to find apps using Baidu’s search technology, which should give more visibility to lesser-known apps and those that consumers only use occasionally.

Users search for apps for a certain task with results showing which web apps can be used without the need to be downloaded.

According to China Daily, Baidu chief executive Robin Li said that the traditional app store model is flawed as it only benefits a few popular apps, meaning it is difficult for smaller players to succeed. He added that only a few hundred apps account for 70 per cent of downloads, leaving thousands of developers to battle it out for the remainder.

Baidu also plans to add services such as online payment, travel guides and music to the Light App platform, according to the report.

The Light App strategy complements Baidu’s $1.9 billion acquisition of Chinese third-party app store 91 Wireless and boosts its efforts to expand its reach in the Chinese mobile internet market.

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