Today we are going to talk about the most popular search engines in China.
Before we start, let’s see something about SEO which matters a lot in China internet marketing. A quick definition of SEO: Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the visibility of a web site or a web page in search engines via the “natural” or un-paid (“organic” or “algorithmic”) search results.
So how does SEO relate with business in China? Have a look at CCDI’s Report on Investigation of Chinese Internet Marketing Service Condition which covers more than 1800 companies in 18 cities. In China’s developed areas there are 80.97% companies already using some form of internet marketing; and the backbone of internet strategy in China is SEO.
CNNIC (China Internet Network Information Center): in 2010, the utilization rate of search engine reaches 76.3%, an increase of 3% compared to 2009; presently, the number of search engine users reaches 320 million and the half annual growth rate is 13.9%.
According to China Intelli Consulting Corporation the penetration rate of search engine keeps increasing and 91% of China’s netizens will use it at least once a month, 4% higher than last year. Furthermore, every single day, 58.8% of netizens will use search engines, 4.4% higher compared to last year. This is why so many Chinese companies do SEO work and why foreign business people pay more attention to these search engines.
In the search engine market in China we have Baidu, Google, Yahoo, Soso, SoGou.
From the moment I discovered search engines, Baidu had kept the leading position in China. There are a zillion internet cafes in China; most of them have set baidu.com as their home page.
Baidu offers precise search results of China domestic matters. As the most popular search engine in China, people use it to search for music, news, video, products, etc.
In 2005, a Chinese-language interface was developed for the google.com website. In Jan 2006, Google launched its China-based google.cn search page with results subject to censorship by the Chinese government.
After several years of development, Google has gained 22% market share in China, a remarkable achievement. However, censorship problems in 2009 have dragged Google into a dilemma and also caused errors in its search business. Google’s decreasing share to rival Baidu.
In the beginning of 2010 Google started redirecting all search queries from Google.cn to Google.com.hk. (Google Hong Kong), thereby bypassing Chinese regulators and allowing uncensored Simplified Chinese search results.
On June 30, 2010, Google ended the automatic redirect of Google China to Google Hong Kong, and instead placed a link to Google Hong Kong to avoid getting their Internet Content Provider (ICP) license revoked.
People who use Google search engine always get used to typing in English and prefer to know information not available in China. This group of people is well educated and search with clear purpose; vs. Baidu’s more general casual entertainment driven audience.
Yahoo began offering search marketing services after acquiring Overture Services, Inc. (formerly Goto.com). Goto.com was an Idealab spin off and was the first company to successfully provide a pay-for-placement search service following previous attempts that were not well received.
China Intelli Consulting Corporation: Yahoo search engine fails to appear in the list of top 3 search engines. In 2009, Yahoo only took 1.1% (while Baidu took 69.9% and Google took 19.8%) of the China market. The failure of Yahoo’s search engine is reported to be lack of timely, and significant investment.
Soso is a Chinese search engine owned by Tencent Holdings Limited, which is well known for its other creation QQ (the most popular communication tool in China).
China Intelli Consulting Corporation: Soso has taken 3.3% of China search engine market, an increase of 0.8% over last year.
Users of Soso search engine are mainly users of QQ, and they mostly search for music.
From Wiki we know that Sogou is a Chinese search engine which can search text, images, music, and maps. It was launched 4 August 2004 and is owned by Sohu, Inc., SoGou means “Search Dog” in Chinese. As of April 2010, it has a rank of 121 in Alexa’s internet rankings. Sogou provides an index of up to 10 billion web pages. Its major domestic competitor is Baidu.
China Intelli Consulting Corporation: Sogou has taken 3.5% of China search engine market, a 0.8% increase over last year.
Just like Soso, the users of Sogou also enjoy searching for music.
From the introductions and data above, it is obvious that Baidu is the hottest search engine in China. In next part we will see the detailed comparison between Baidu & Google search engine to have a clear idea about which one is better for your business use.
Related articles from around the web.
- Baidu Wants Android Deal, and More (seochat.com)
- Baidu’s Shares Soar as Google Gets Stuck in Chinese Red Tape (dailyfinance.com)
- Google No Longer Redirecting Google China To Google Hong Kong (searchengineland.com)
- China to Build State-Run Search Engine (nytimes.com)
- Alibaba to Buy Stake in Chinese Search Engine (pcworld.com)
- Xinhua, China Mobile announce search venture (sfgate.com)
- New China Search Engine Will Be State-Controlled (nytimes.com)
- Baidu announce mystery ‘revolutionary’ product (globalthoughtz.com)
- New Competitors Target Google’s China Search Business (dailyfinance.com)
- The Battle of the Search Engines (epiphanysolutions.co.uk)