Chinese internet search giant Baidu is retrenching from an Egyptian market from where it had hoped to expand in the Middle East, people familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal, following a six-year effort to challenge its American rivals. In recent months, the company has gradually laid off its more than 30 employees and closed its Cairo office after the business didn’t meet its targets, said several former employees and a regional technology executive. The Beijing-based company, which has a near monopoly on China’s internet search traffic, had focused in Cairo on developing Arabic-language applications and websites as advertising platforms for the Middle East and North Africa. It tested an Arabic search engine but never launched it widely, these people said. No Baidu representation could be found in Cairo. A company spokesman in Beijing declined to comment on the Cairo office, the search engine nor any plans for Egypt and the Middle East.
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