In a statement issued on Monday Microsoft and Chinese language search giant Baidu have announced partnership in the Chinese search sector.
Baidu is by far the biggest web company in China and will link-up with Microsoft's Bing search engine to provide results for English-language searches. This means that English search queries entered to Baidu will be directed to a Bing search results page.
Baidu dominates search in China with more than 75% of the market and saw profits double last year. Google by comparrison is struggling to establish itself in the Chinese market. It clocks in with 20% of the market and has fallen fall out state regulators on several occasions.
Microsoft's deal will neatly sidestep suich problems because control of the searched for query will still remain firmly with Baidu with Bing effectively operating under Baidu's control.
Quoted on the BBC's Technology pages Dong Xu, an analyst with Analysys International, said "The co-operation between Baidu and Microsoft will further strengthen Baidu's dominance in China's search engine market, and will also make Google's business in China more difficult"
This move will add further pressure on Google's Chinese operation with many analysts already seeing a retreat from sector from the a company that is the undisputed king of the search sector.
China has proved an impossible nut to crack for Google (with the exception of Hong Kong). In other markets such as Singapore and Japan Google has gained market share but it seems that entrenched local search engines such as Baidu and Yandex in Russia can still hold out against it's dominance of the search engine market.