Chinese Internet firm Baidu's (Nasdaq: BIDU) online directory site Hao123 has announced that it will be undergoing remodeling in 2011, replacing the online game channel on the main page with a group buying channel.
A representative for Hao123 confirmed the decision, calling it "an ordinary update in keeping with the long-term development goals of the site."
An industry source indicated that the reason for canceling the gaming channel was that the site was having difficulty attracting gamers in an industry where the landscape is already quite well established (i.e. gamers are already familiar with the major game operators and know how to reach their websites directly, without the use of the links provided on Hao123). Group buying is a new niche with plenty of room for new players, and was thus perceived as adding relatively greater value to the site.