Friday, July 29, 2011

Scenes of Wenzhou, Zhejiang

As I mentioned before, for now I'll refrain from commenting much on the recent high-speed rail train crash in Wenzhou, Zhejiang province.   A simple online search will uncover plenty of news.  However, if this is accurate you may not find too much new information in major Chinese papers.

Instead, I'll share some photos from when I visited Wenzhou for about a week late last year.  Wenzhou is a 4-5 hour high-speed train ride from Shanghai, although if you want to get downtown you'll still have a bit to go since the high-speed trains stop at the not-so-central South Train Station.  What caught my eye the most about the city was its mix of older alleys, new apartment high rises, and hilly parks.

Based on some informal impressions, the people of Wenzhou stood out from those in other cities I had visited around the same time in an unexpected way -- especially in the shopping districts, many wore clothing that was mostly or all black.  I met several design students at Wenzhou University, most of whom were not dressed in the black clothing style.  They said they want to be different and felt that many others were wearing black because it was "safe".  If there are any Wenzhou fashion experts out there who can provide more of an explanation for the black clothing phenomenon, I'd be happy to hear from you.

Like many of my earlier photos, some of the following photos show a side of China far removed from high-speed trains.  There are two obvious exceptions, though.

Very empty high-speed rail car while departing Shanghai on the way to Wenzhou.  The peacefulness was enjoyable.

An ordinary street

Central pedestrian shopping street

Some of the black-colored fashion

A mix of old and new as seen from Jiangxin Island

Joys Booty Bar.  Looked like a typical bar for Zhejiang province.  I passed it up, though, so I can't provide a review.

Traffic jams are common as the bike rickshaws travel down narrow alleys

Downtown Wenzhou

One of the more interesting tall buildings in Wenzhou

A typical alley

Little girl having a snack on the side of the street

Student dormitory at Wenzhou University

Piano practice room at Wenzhou University.

Waiting to depart Wenzhou by high-speed rail at the South Train Station.  This time the train was much fuller.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

And Now a Word from the Blogger

It's been a bit since my last post.  In fact, I think this is the longest I've gone without posting since I started this blog.  In short, it was a perfect storm of sorts.

But, looking at the news from around the world, my storm was immensely trivial compared to what many other have gone through or are going through.  Whether it was the terrorism attacks in Norway or the train crash in Wenzhou, China, not only were the events themselves saddening, but so was how some reacted to them.

Right now, I have nothing to add on a grander scale that hasn't been said elsewhere so just a few words on the crash in Wenzhou simply because I've visited the city and arrived & departed on high-speed rail.

While the train I rode to Wenzhou had many empty cars when pulling out of Shanghai, on later segments the high-speed trains I rode on that line seemed full of people.  In Xiapu, a city to the south of Wenzhou in Fujian province, I arrived at the station hoping to simply board the next train (all the trains that go through Xiapu are high-speed) and was disappointed to discover that I'd have to watch several trains go through the station until there was one with an available seat 6 hours later -- very different from the experience in departing Shanghai.

My memories of the train rides included marveling at the wonderful convenience it was providing me and viewing some incredible scenery on China's east coast in Zhejiang and Fujian provinces.  As I look at scenes of the crash those memories feel ever so dissonant.

Even in the best of circumstances, accidents happen and getting accurate information about disasters such as the one in Wenzhou can take time.  We'll see.

I have a lot of stuff in the works.  Soon back to the regularly scheduled programming.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Researching Behavior: A Tale of Cats and Dogs

An experience of mine from quite a few years ago is relevant to the challenges in understanding how people think and behave in another culture.  It's not about China, but instead involves a different culture that was foreign to me in many ways at the time -- the US Marines.

My first job after graduate school was at a consulting company which focused on the development of PC-based training system prototypes for the United States Armed Forces.  My work wasn't only conducting research to guide the design of useful and useable systems but also designing the intelligent agents that would mimic human behavior in a virtual environment and interact with real humans.  In short, I had to detail both typical and ideal decision-making at a fine level in very complex environments.  The projects covered domains ranging from the Air Force Space Command to Navy air wing strike teams.

One project brought me to Camp Lejeune, a Marine Corps base in North Carolina.  While sitting next to a large table used for tactical planning, an experienced Marine who was assisting the project and considered to be an expert in his domain suddenly began screaming at me.  The short (and cleansed) version was that he wanted to know how it was that I, fresh out of college and without a shred of military experience, could be playing such a key role in mapping out the decision-making in their activities.  Didn't they already know how they did things much better than I possibly could?

I simply wrote down a word and asked him to read it.

He was a bit surprised by my response.  After a brief moment of stunned silence he correctly said "cats".

I then wrote down another word and asked him to read it as well.  He correctly said "dogs".

I pointed out that they both ended with the written letter "s".  He didn't appear to be impressed by that insight, but I still had his attention.

I then pointed out that despite both ending with the written letter "s" he said the word "dogs" ending with a z sound and "cats" ending with an s sound.

I asked him how he decided which sound to use.

He thought for a while before saying he had no idea how he made the decision.

I used this example to show how being an expert in something doesn't mean you know how you do it.  Despite him probably being able to correctly pronounce the final sound in words such as "dogs" and "cats" nearly 100% of the time, he had no explicit awareness of the decisions he was making.  In fact, this was likely advantageous as "thinking about it" while speaking would probably interfere with performance.  As he could well appreciate in the military where the quickness of decisions could mean life or death, much of the value in gaining certain types of expertise is in reducing the need for conscious decision making so choices can be made more expediently and automatically.  This can hold true for a variety of activities, whether it's speaking a language, riding a bike, or playing a video game.

Figuring out how people think and behave is not at all simple.  In my work I need to apply a variety of methods borrowed from fields ranging from cognitive psychology to anthropology to ensure I best address various research questions.  I made it clear to the Marine that the skills I possessed in researching human cognition that better enabled me to ascertain how he was making certain decisions didn't necessarily mean I could effectively make those decisions myself in a "real world" situation.  My expertise was in figuring out how and why he did certain things.  His expertise was in doing them.

He appreciated my explanation and there were no further issues.  It helped him to better understand our respective roles, and he proved to be an invaluable member of the project.

While my research since that first job, and certainly in China, has not at all been military oriented, I continue to work with people who in their own way are experts in a particular field or activity.  Often, it is a part of their daily lives -- whether it's how to use their mobile phone to organize a gathering of friends, how to purchase an item that's not fake online, how to communicate differently with work colleagues and friends, or how to be unique without being too different.  Occasionally in China, people have posed questions similar those of the Marine (though in a far less aggressive fashion).  Like my conversation with the Marine, I've sought appropriate ways to explain that their "expertise" doesn't necessarily translate to fully understanding how they behave and why they behave that way.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Different Languages of China

My previous post touched on the immense variety one can find in China's places & people and how that can impact research.

One of the more obvious of China's variations can be found in language.  The official spoken language in China, Standard Chinese, is based on dialect found in the Beijing area and is commonly referred to as Mandarin or Putonghua.  While Mandarin is becoming more widespread in China, in many regions other local dialects are still commonly spoken.  These local dialects can be completely unintelligible to speakers of other dialects, including Mandarin.

One of the many examples I've seen in how this can matter for research involved a previous colleague of mine who is fluent in Mandarin.  Regardless of her native Chinese speaking skills, when we conducted a project several years ago in Wuhan, Hubei province we ran into significant language issues.  While the participants could speak Mandarin, some were far more comfortable speaking in the local Wuhan dialect.  Sometimes this lead to participants expressing frustration with the need to speak in Mandarin.  Other times it meant that people would frequently slip into the Wuhan dialect.  While the Wuhan dialect is more similar to Mandarin than many other dialects, it was not always comprehensible to my colleague -- obviously a problem for research purposes.

It's not only an issue of whether someone can speak Mandarin at an acceptable level.  If a person doesn't feel genuinely comfortable using Mandarin they may be less likely to open up and share details that could be extremely important. Choosing a dialect for an interview in China may be as simple as determining which dialect people use most.  However, for people who speak multiple dialects it may be more important to identify when they use each dialect.  If the research is focused on work-related issues, it may be better for interviews to be conducted using whatever dialect is most commonly used at work, and not what is used at home with family and friends.  Previous research has indicated that memory can be dependent both upon context and language.  Furthermore, research suggests that people who are fluent in multiple languages can exhibit different personalities and provide different answers to questions depending on the language being used.  In other words, the choice of language used in interviews could impact research results even when people are fluent in both languages.   

In a city such as Shanghai there are many people from a variety of regions, so for any research studies conducted there it may not be practical to conduct each interview in a different dialect if research participants are diverse.  For a number of research purposes it can be appropriate to only use Mandarin given that it is commonly used at work places and in social settings in Shanghai.  Such decisions depend on who and what is being researched.  However, particularly when conducting research in other cities in China which may be more homogenous and where Mandarin is less often used, including an interpreter or researcher who can speak the local dialect can be crucial.  For example, one large project I conducted at Microsoft included 5 different interpreters -- one for each of the cities we were exploring.  Although this may mean sacrificing in terms of the quality of the interpretation (finding a top-notch translator for some local dialects can be much more challenging than finding one for Mandarin), for some types of research allowing people to speak in the most appropriate language is paramount.

While Mandarin is certainly becoming more widespread in China, particularly in younger people, it may not only be a barrier for research, but prove to be entirely unusable.  Companies can't necessarily do away with needing interpreters for research work simply because they have a single Chinese-speaking researcher.  It may mean some extra-challenges in managing and conducting research projects, but it also means a better chance of making meaningful discoveries in a country that is diverse in many ways.

Language matters, a lot.

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Different Colors of China

Last year while raveling with a friend in remote Mingshi, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in China we came across this scene:

colored streamers on vertical sticks stuck in the ground

Neither of us had seen these "streamers on a stick" before.

Especially since my friend is Hong Kong Chinese, very well traveled, and experienced in professionally writing about China, I was curious to hear her impressions.  She strongly believed that they were for wedding ceremonies.  When I shared my very different suspicion that they were for graves she disagreed and said colors like the ones seen here would never be used this way on items related to death.

Although I recognized that my friend possessed much knowledge about China, from a research perspective I wasn't convinced she really knew the answer, particularly since she was not from this part of China.  So, when we later saw someone who appeared to be a local we asked him about the streamers on sticks.  He said they were for graves.  My friend was surprised and as we walked onwards I had the sense she wasn't entirely convinced.

Not far from there we came across another site that proved to be more compelling.  Here you can see her soaking it in:

Not only are the streamers even more brightly colored, but there are more obvious (well, more obvious to an American and Hongkonger) markers for the graves.  She was now completely convinced.

This is one of the many examples of China's diversity.   Often, what you find in Shanghai or Hong Kong will not apply in other places in China -- even when you're looking at something so seemingly fundamental as associations for colors.  This has an immense impact on how to best conduct research in China -- whether for driving the design of technology or developing effective marketing campaigns.  For example, if business goals aren't limited to a specific region in China, conducting research in multiple regions can be critical to ensuring any results will apply to the range of people being targeted.  It doesn't necessarily mean the resulting product, marketing campaign, etc. will need to be tailored to each region, but it could mean finding the best single solution that can apply to multiple regions.

It's not only just about what differs.  In some of my research, I've seen unifying threads across China and its people.  But depending on what you're looking at it may be related to factors such as region, size of the city, prosperity of the city, income level, personal interests, age, etc.  For example, I've seen some surprising similarities in people living in very different parts of China -- such as Changsha, Hunan province and Changchun, Jilin province.  However, there were other ways in which they differed that were largely related to regional issues.  Identifying these patterns and understanding them can be key to applying any findings in an effective and meaningful manner.

Finally, in the experience with the graves in Guangxi my friend had a more difficult time than I did in questioning her initial beliefs.  In part, this is likely because her cultural associations with the colors were very strong and she assumed they would apply elsewhere in China.  As an outsider I had fewer (or at least different) biases that made it easier for me to question whether I really knew the answer and also made it more likely I'd seek additional input.

This leads to another topic I'll address in an upcoming post:  How being an outsider to a culture can be advantageous for certain types of research.  In many ways it holds true for all cultures, but I have found it to be especially true in China.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Bing Maps and Google Maps: The China-India Border

In my earlier post, I pointed out that both Bing Maps and Google Maps appear to explicitly indicate China's border surrounding the regions of the South China Sea and Taiwan in their China-based versions but do not do so in their US-based versions.  Leon White, who is working on his master's degree in international relations, commented on another disputed border of China that shows a similar pattern in how it is represented, but with a slight twist:
"I am currently writing my thesis on the 60 year old China-India border conflict, and the images of whole China at the end struck me as interesting...

... my main reason for writing is to highlight the differences in how these different mapping services portray the disputed border between China and India. The area most sensitive to China is the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, which China claims as Southern Tibet. China has not exercised control over this area since it briefly advanced to its own claim lines in the border war of 1962 - the current Line of Actual Control (LAC) runs along the controversial McMahon Line, which connects Bhutan to Myanmar starting just north of Tawang town, roughly at the north-east point of the roughly rectangular shape of Bhutan.

All of these mapping services show the border according to China's claim, i.e. at the SOUTH-east point of Bhutan's border:,92.60376&spn=7.979828,14.27124&z=7&brcurrent=3,0x3761317e9c4a2cc1:0x1fc12c628413da99,1%3B5,0,1,2907956&cc=&s=tpl%3ACity&sc=0

China does NOT actually control this territory, and both parties recognise it as under dispute!

Bing appears to be trying to have it both ways, according to their Indian mapping service:

Only Google Maps US, which loads sporadically for me here in Beijing with the VPN off, is honest about the border dispute. Note the second part of the dispute in the west, confused up with the whole Kashmir issue:,94.152832&spn=16.273866,28.54248&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=58.076329,114.169922&z=6

And, just for laughs, the Chinese government's official mapping service:

Because every mapping services needs a flashy splash screen. I couldn't seem to find a link function on that site, but it did kindly provide me with a little red car in the middle of Sichuan for some reason. Reshma Patil, the correspondent for the Hindustan Times in Beijing, had the following to say about this service:

Sorry for the barrage of links. I suppose the conclusions to be drawn from this are fairly obvious. In order to operate in China, you must toe the line on where the government says the borders are, even though there is no hope in hell they are getting all of that territory back, just as India will never control the Aksai Chin under dispute in the west. Most academics and even the press in China realise this, although Tawang (birthplace of the 6th Dalai Lama and potential reincarnation site of the next one) is still under serious dispute."
Based on what I found before, I'm not surprised by the variations in representing the disputed border between China and India.

That Google Maps US clearly represents this border as disputed but does not do so for Taiwan or the South China Sea is worth notice.  I suspect at least part of the reason is due to how Google Maps US represents the borders for islands that have no internal international borders - for example, Taiwan, Madagascar, and Hawaii.  In short, there is nothing explicitly indicating whether islands are part of another country or independent -- for example, no country border lines around Madagascar and no dashed line to explicitly show that Hawaii is part of the US.  However, one could infer Hawaii is part of the US due to it being labeled with its state abbreviation (HI) at certain zoom levels similar to other US states.  One could also infer that Taiwan is not a part of China according to Google Maps US.  At a zoom level where China's provinces are only labeled in Chinese, Taiwan is labeled in both Chinese and English (it is peculiar that Google Maps US does not provide the names of China's provinces in English).

The details provided by Leon White regarding the disputed border between China and India brought to mind something I've been pondering recently.  What is the difference between censoring information according to government rules and providing maps of disputed regions that conform to government rules?  Both can have great impact on how people see the world around them.  I'll share some of my thoughts on this topic later.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Slowly Vanishing: Shanghai's "Old" Xiaonanmen

Frequently the news in the US about Shanghai regards its latest and greatest -- high speed rail, new skyscrapers, etc.  However, there are other sides to Shanghai that are often overlooked, even by some of the people who live there.  One such side can be found in the Xiaonanmen area of Shanghai's centrally-located "Old Town".  Its landscape is changing, though, as sections of it feel the impact of the seemingly unstoppable march of "progress".  Whatever merits the changes may have, certainly much history and culture is disappearing.  But some of it remains, for now.

With that in mind, this past weekend I visited Xiaonanmen.  In some ways it reminded me of much of what I've recently seen in many other cities in China that have undergone far less change.  In others ways it seemed to capture a spirit that is special to Shanghai.

If you can bear through the bobbling of the the following video, you'll catch some of the sounds, sights, and energy in a local street market I walked through.  Every time I watch it I see different things I want to comment on.  For now, I'll just say that it touches on aspects of the daily lives for many in China that can feel far removed from Great Firewalls and high speed trains.

And here are some photos of more people and scenes in Xiaonanmen, each with many stories to tell:

The writing in red is a Chinese character to indicate the building will be demolished

Around the fabric market

Chinese squash can be rather large

Most of this block is demolished.  Hints of the possible future in the background.

Time for a beer

Cooking food

Trying to get the recently washed cat to pose for a photo

I've recently seen a few young kids with similar haircuts

Some small scale construction -- not so typical for this area.

The chef for my outdoor street-side dinner

Partially demolished home

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Maps in (and of) China: Baidu, Bing, and Google

In an earlier post I compared Google Maps and Baidu Map.  There were several key areas in which Google Maps was clearly superior even though Baidu Map has what some find to be a very visually appealing hand-drawn 3D view.  Combined with some of what I've found regarding the impressions of Google Maps held by Chinese youth I suggested that there could be a lot at play in Google Map's recent application for a license to continue operating in China.  If you didn't read the post taking a look at it here will provide more context for the following.

I've since received feedback from a few people indicating they like to use Microsoft's Bing Maps for some of their needs in China.  I'll take a look at how it stacks up to Google Maps and Baidu Map using the same metrics as before.

Here is a section of Zigong, Sichuan province, the same as used in the earlier post, in Bing Maps:

Zigong in Bing Maps

In comparison to either Google Maps or Baidu Map, Bing Maps shows very little detail for Zigong.  For example, the map shows none of the many roads in this area.

The level of detail in Bing Maps for Zigong is similar to many other places I've checked in China, including Shanghai.  While Beijing appears to have a bit more detail, including some streets, and Hong Kong is very detailed, they are not typical of other cities.  Needless to say, based on this it would seem that Bing Maps would be very limited in its usefulness in Mainland China.

However, there's an important piece of information I haven't mentioned.  The map above is from the version of Bing Maps for the US (I will now refer to it as Bing Maps US).  If you go to the version of Bing Maps for China at (I will now refer to it as Bing Maps China) you'll see a very different level of detail.  Here's a map of approximately the same area as above, but seen in Bing Maps China:

Zigong in Bing Maps China

The detail of streets at this level of zoom is obviously much better and compares to Google Maps and Baidu Map.  And unlike Baidu Map, it accurately represents the river.  In that respect Baidu Map has been outdone on its own turf by two non-Chinese companies.

To be clear, all of the examples from Google Maps in the earlier post were from the version of Google Maps for China (I will now refer to it as Google Maps China).  So, in the version for the US (I will now refer to it as Google Maps US) is the view of Zigong sparse in details similar to Bing Maps US?

Zigong in Google Maps US

Not at all.  The above view of Zigong in Google Maps US appears to be the same map as seen in Google Maps China except that English or pinyin (a way to write Chinese words using the Roman alphabet) is also included depending on which is the most appropriate (not always an easy decision, a topic for another day).

In fact, if you zoom in a bit more, you'll see that it even provides other important details in English such as those seen here:

Google Maps doesn't miss the McDonald's and KFC

Yes, indeed Zigong has a McDonald's and KFC just where the map shows.  I walked by them several times while I was in Zigong (though, there are some local specialties I'd highly recommend instead, a possible subject for a later post).  There are also several local business shown on the map as well.  I can't be sure of their accuracy but I can say that more exist than what is shown.  However, neither Baidu Map nor Bing Maps China shows a larger number of businesses in the area and neither offers any information in English.

Is everything there looking better for Google Maps US?  No.  A not-so-small street next to the KFC is missing from the map.  It's also missing from Bing Maps (the more I explore Baidu Bing Maps China and Google Maps the more it appears that at least in Zigong they are using very similar if not identical sources for street data). 

However, here is slightly overlapping section of Zigong as seen in Baidu Map:

Baidu Map captures a street missing in Bing Maps and Google Maps

The traffic light symbol at the intersection in the lower right is where KFC is located.  The road that extends diagonally up to the left is part of what is missing on Google Maps and Bing Maps China.  It seems to deserve being placed on a map and is not just some tiny side street.  I'm rather confident about that since I walked on it several months ago.  Fortunately, I also have a photo of it:

A street that most certainly exists

At another point on the road is this view:

A view of a section of Zigong

There are numerous apartment complexes and small businesses along the road including these:

More of the street in Zigong that certainly exists

As I mentioned in the earlier post, I've found mistakes or omissions in both Google Maps and Baidu Map in various locations in China, but I have not yet noticed any issues in Google Maps that equaled Baidu Map's mangling of Zigong's river.

Regardless, where I claimed Google Maps was most clearly superior to Baidu Map was in its coverage of regions outside of China.  While I shared what North America looked like in Baidu Map (reminder, mostly just grayness without any features) I didn't share a view from Google Maps because I assumed it would be obvious that it was much better.  That may not be the case anymore so to resolve any doubts here is North America as seen in Google Maps China (

North America in Google Maps China

After zooming in quite a bit more, here is a map of the city where I did my undergraduate & graduate studies long ago:

The Baltimore, Maryland area in Google Maps China

Many of the locations on the map are identified in both Chinese and English.  If people in China know of Dundalk by its Chinese name and want to find it that they can do so with Google Maps.  While some in Baltimore may scoff at the idea that people in China would ever need to do this, Dundalkers may feel otherwise.

If you zoom in more, the map is almost entirely in English.  However, my old alma mater does have its name in Chinese provided: 约翰霍普金斯大学 (I need to get that on a sweatshirt).  While Google Maps China doesn't provide the same degree of translation as found in the coverage of China by Google Maps US, its coverage of the US is clearly vastly superior to Baidu Map.

Since Bing Maps shows a very different view of China depending on whether one uses the version for the US or China, one could be particularly suspicious about how North America would appear in Bing Maps China.  Here is what it offers:

North America in Bing Maps China

That's as detailed as it gets.  Zooming in actually causes rivers such as the mighty Mississippi to disappear and for most locations the viewing area will be entirely filled with a light beige color.  There is no mention of the USA but there is a label for Washington, D.C.  It's a little more detailed than Baidu Map but not much more and still of rather limited use.  And Dundalkers you're not alone in being swiped from the face of the earth.  The rest of the world outside of China is equally lacking in detail.

There could be a variety of reasons as to why Bing Maps US and Bing Maps China are each lacking detailed coverage of areas that are offered in the other -- for example, the effort it would take to translate maps, licensing issues, etc.  I've noticed some curious patterns in the global coverage in Bing Maps US that add further intrigue to the issue (I may share these in a later post) so I'll refrain on making any bets for now.  If anyone from Microsoft would like to offer their thoughts I'd certainly be interested to hear them.  Whatever the reasons, the lack of coverage in both cases could lead to some disappointing moments for people using Bing Maps and could hurt its chances in being used by other online services (such as for global hotel reservations).

Since much of what I've shared pivots around what is inside and outside of China, I'll briefly touch on an important related issue for map services in China -- the borders of China.  Here is "China" in Bing Maps China and Google Maps China:

China in Baidu Bing Maps China

China in Google Maps China

Notice that in both there is a dashed line around the South China Sea and around Taiwan to presumably make it clear they are parts of China.  To say the least, these are both areas where any such claims China may make are under significant dispute.  The dashed lines do not appear in Google Maps US and Bing Maps US.  The China-based versions seem to indicate how both Google and Microsoft are trying meet the Chinese government's regulations for map services.

As I mentioned in another post, I think companies such as Google and Microsoft can serve an important role in better connecting the Chinese people to the outside world, helping them to better understand it, and helping the world to better understand China.  I think it can be worthwhile even if it means a significantly higher level of censorship than typically practiced or, as in the cases above, adding in some dashed lines. 

As I mentioned in yet another post, Microsoft Bing's new partnership with Baidu may be of value in this regards (while also possibly putting Google Search in more peril of being blocked).  However, in its current form Bing Maps China won't greatly help in achieving any such lofty goals.

Of the map services in China I've reviewed, only Google Maps effectively offers people in China a detailed view of the US and people in the US a detailed view of China.  This isn't only good for helping people learn more about the world, but also good for Google's business.

Again, Google's strength in its map services in China may mean it will face some special challenges.  For now, both Google and Microsoft continue to wait to see if licenses will be granted for their map services in China.  How that plays out may shed some light on the differences between them. 

Regardless, based on what I've seen it's not hard to imagine what Baidu is hoping for.

Disclosure:  I worked at Microsoft China in the past.  My work did not cover Bing Maps.