Baidu International launches Australian office led by Dean Capobianco and Paul Christy

Fionn Hyndman


Dean Capobianco


baidu logoChinese search giant Baidu has entered the Australian market with a launch team featuring several well known players from the local digital market.

Fionn Hyndman, best known in the Australian market from his time as CEO of performance marketing company dgm, is Baidu International’s executive director, based in Singapore.

Locally, Dean Capobianco – previously group commercial and operations director at ninemsn and director of sales at Yahoo Search Marketing – will help establish the Australian office in an advisory role. Capobianco left ninemsn in January.

Paul Christy, a previous GM of Telstra’s mobile strategy and innovation unit, will be GM of the Australian office of Baidu International.

The Beijing-headquartered Baidu has a credible claim of being Asia’s largest search engine with a market share of more than half of all Chinese search terms.

Baidu International is the organisation’s reseller outside of China.

Hyndman said: “Paul and Dean bring a deep understanding of the digital marketing space and the challenges faced by digital advertisers in the current global economy. Over 175 million Chinese users have already made purchases online. Increasingly, it is Western goods and services that are benefiting from this maturing community. With the proximity to Australia, and the desire for these goods and services, Australian firms are ideally placed to benefit from the market growth and internationalisation of China.”

Capobianco said: “Everyone knows that the strength in the Australian economy is, in a large part, due to the business we do with China, and that is about more than just mining. China is our largest trade partner, their tourists spend more than three times other international visitors, their students attend our universities with full fee paying spots and they are huge investors in property and retail. I felt the time was right to help Australian advertisers address this opportunity.”


  1. Thomas Roll
    2 May 12
    2:18 pm

  2. Genuine question: Will it censor results inline with its home base, or produce an entirely localised (and less filtered) alternative?

  3. Fionn
    2 May 12
    4:17 pm

  4. Hi Thomas, the opportunity is to target Chinese consumers as opposed to Australian users using the search engine. So it will be Chinese users who are viewing the standard results in China, as per the Chinese gov’ts regulations


  5. Seahorse
    2 May 12
    4:21 pm

  6. Genuine question: Will it censor results inline with its home base, or produce an entirely localised (and less filtered) alternative?

  7. Nick
    2 May 12
    4:35 pm

  8. There is no mention here of Baidu launching locally with a search engine offering, rather this sounds like a local sales team for Australian businesses to advertise on the engine (in Chinese I’m assuming?) in China

  9. Fionn
    2 May 12
    4:37 pm

  10. @Nick – you’ve got it…

  11. Alex
    2 May 12
    4:51 pm

  12. As an employee of a company that specialises in international online for the last 4 years, we see next to no interest in targeting china from our clients so it seems a little bold to be launching with such a high profile team when the current market spend is almost non-existent.

    Have i missed something here?

  13. Cara
    2 May 12
    4:58 pm

  14. nice one Dean!

  15. Fionn
    2 May 12
    5:43 pm

  16. @Alex We’ve got clients live from Tourism AU through to a few of the Universities, managed and delivered from our HQ in Singapore. The demand has given us enough confidence to see the return in putting in the local guys. If you want to look at how we might be able to work together then feel free to get in touch.

  17. anon
    2 May 12
    6:34 pm

  18. Alex – How about the over 1/2 million Chinese tourists who visit Australia every year (nevermind the millions of Chinese expats living in Australia who probably search on Baidu in their first language)? They’ve got to get here, stay here and spend money here. I guess the point of a high profile team is to educate and sell those facts and more into the market here. I think you have missed something here.

  19. Alex
    3 May 12
    9:29 am

  20. @anon Totally with you on this, and its something that we and our competitors have been trying to do over a number of years. The key here is getting major brands to market to multicultural groups, which is easier said than done. I appreciate what they’re trying to do (as its good for us all) however i just question the level of profitability

  21. Alex
    3 May 12
    9:30 am

  22. Also…one more thing. Baidu dont allow AU IP targeting only so this is about selling aussie marketers into targeting Australia, not Chinese tourists/expats.

  23. Fionn
    3 May 12
    9:41 am

  24. @Alex this is about targeting Chinese users who are searching in China, who are showing intent to visit Australia, buy things, go to university abroad etc. you’re right, right now the AU IP’s can’t be targeted, but you can target regions in China, outside of China or Japan if you so wish. Cheers

  25. Alex
    3 May 12
    10:03 am

  26. @fionn. Thanks for clarifying. Best of luck with the new venture

  27. Gav
    3 May 12
    5:25 pm

  28. If there’s someone who can spot the opportunity in an emerging market, it’s Fionn. For those who say it might not be profitable, well it might not, initially, but I’d say that it’s easy to envisage 100 Aussie companies spending 1k per month on Baidu. That’s not a bad start, is it?
    Let’s not forget that Chinese love luxury goods, fashion etc. so Aussie companies will have an opportunity there, as well as the aforementioned b2b, tourism and the massive area that is education.
    And what’s the score with translation help too?

  29. James Norquay
    4 May 12
    10:23 am

  30. I met with Dean at SMX on Wednesday, he is defiantly a great fit for the job, seems to be willing to tackle most questions around investment on Baidu. Did a great presentation on Baidu too. Who ever said it is going no where in Australia I think you need to research international search patterns.