Chinese Search Engine Beats Google for Building Web Presence in China
Released on: November 23, 2010, 7:42 am
Author: Ernie Diaz
Internet & Online
Western businesses seeking Chinese online customers are now turning to Baidu as a first choice, ahead of Google.
Baidu CEO Robin Li’s appearance last week at the Web 2.0 summit has sent a clear message to western online entrepreneurs: his site, not Google, is the go-to search engine for implementing the all-important SEO (search engine optimization) that draws Chinese customers and builds a web presence in China.
“Baidu answers more search queries in China than any other search engine in any other market, including Google in the US,” said Li. His claim is backed by hard evidence. Last April, investment group Susquehanna International gave Baidu stock shares a bullish $1000 price target, as a result of its incredible 165% growth for the quarter. As far as online marketing, Baidu has managed to capture 62% of China’s market, compared to Google’s 20% share.
“We have a lot of room for growth,” Li said. He was referring not only to the fact that just 1/3 of Chinese people (420 million) have Internet access, a number growing exponentially, but also to his plans to take Baidu worldwide.
“I am definitely refocusing my China SEO strategy,” says Kerry Xie, a Chinese born, Los Angeles based graphic designer and English to Chinese translation specialist. “Foreigners should understand what it means for Robin Li to make such optimistic statements at the Web 2.0 Summit. He’s not just pulling ahead in the race with Google. He’s won the race, at least in China. I’m shifting my China online ad budget entirely to a Baidu PPC (pay per click) campaign.”
China SEO and Chinese web marketing expert Jacob Cooke concurs, but for different reasons. “Baidu has played by the Chinese government’s rules, and has benefited tremendously as a result of that and Google’s stand on censorship. Filtering content and sites perceived as harmful to Chinese web-surfers actually gains Baidu more users than it loses by acknowledging its censorship. I’m recommending Baidu as the first priority for my clients’ China SEO objectives.”
Justin Richardson, an education marketer from Australia who helps Chinese students study abroad, has been focusing on Baidu to the exclusion of Google for some time. “It’s not just the censorship issue that puts Baidu ahead of Google in China,” says Richardson.
“Baidu was created in Chinese for Chinese people, so of course it’s more appealing to them, both in form and function. Chinese searchers interact with the search engine differently than do their western counterparts. They can’t scan information as quickly, due to the nature of Chinese characters. Also, they input their search phrases very carefully. Baidu takes these differences into account, making for a better overall search experience. Many of my customers have said so, which is why I use Baidu almost exclusively for my China SEO efforts.”
China-based SEO consultants and the foreign businesses working with them see the battle for Chinese searchers clearly going to Baidu. Newspaper China Daily refers to the contest as an “E-commerce War”, citing Google’s ramped up hiring efforts in response to Baidu’s great strides in capturing both more Chinese searchers and increasing ad revenue from the western online entrepreneurs trying to reach them.
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