France Telecom, Orange, has signed a and exclusive partnership with Chinese internet company, Baidu, to develop a co-branded internet browser for smartphone customers in Africa, the Middle East and Asia (AMEA). This is the Chinese company’s first global partnership but the deal is part of Orange and Baidu’s aim to make the mobile web available for all in emerging markets.

Orange has a mobile customer base in AMEA of nearly 80 million customers which is very enticing to companies like Baidu. Smartphones use in the market is also increasing with Android registering a double of its penetration in Egypt alone.

The deal with Orange will see Baidu browser offer a highly customisable but simple interface for customers in AMEA, enabling them to access web-based apps and internet services unique to Baidu and Orange, as well as services like Wikipedia, Facebook or Twitter, amongst others. Customers benefit from a new, feature rich user interface that provides one-click access to all of their preferred local and global services but also benefit from a browser that is much faster and more data efficient compared to other browsers, reducing the amount of data consumed by 30-90% depending on the types of services and files accessed.

Orange and Baidu have already developed an Arabic and English browser is launching for Egypt’s Mobinil customers. Both companies are now working to launch French versions of the browser for countries across Orange’s African & Middle East footprint.