Microsoft ditches Bing for Baidu in China

gates li
Microsoft founder Bill Gates and Baidu CEO Robin Li at a press conference in 2011.

Goodbye, Bing. Hello, Baidu!

Microsoft is planning to ditch its own search engine for users of the Microsoft Edge browser in China, offering them local rival Baidu instead. (BIDU) will become the default search and homepage. Bing never quite caught on in China. (The name sounds similar to the Chinese word for "sickness.")

Related: What's in a brand name? In China, everything

The deal is among a slew of partnerships with Chinese firms that Microsoft (MSFT) announced Wednesday as China's President Xi Jinping met tech executives in Seattle on his first state visit to the U.S. Xi toured Microsoft's headquarters with CEO Satya Nadella.

Microsoft also struck a new deal with Xiaomi. The Chinese smartphone company has agreed to adopt Windows Azure to provide cloud services to customers.

Foreign technology companies are scrambling to partner with Chinese firms in an effort to stay competitive in China, where businesses have long complained about the difficult regulatory environment and theft of trade secrets.

Related: China President Xi Jinping meets with Big Tech execs

So far it's been a bumpy road for Microsoft.

Last year, the Chinese government said it was investigating how the company distributed its software, and even went so far as to ban the Windows 8 operating system from government computers.

China's longtime restrictions on foreign gaming consoles kept Microsoft's Xbox out of the country until they were lifted recently.

Microsoft is also fighting a piracy battle in China. The company estimates 90% of Chinese PCs are running illegal copies of Windows software.

Other tech firms such as Google (GOOG) and Facebook (FB) have also run into problems -- both remain blocked in China.

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