Baidu vs. Google. How Baidu kicked out Google from China.

As we all know, China’s most popular search engine isn’t Google, it’s Baidu. Baidu was created in 2000 and at the beginning of 2010 it has about two-thirds of the Chinese market. It claims to be the most advanced Chinese-language search engine.

Let’s look at some of the factors that contributed to Google’s failure in China (apart from well-known legal struggle over censorship issues)

* Chinese Media propaganda
Chinese government emphasized the fact that Google represents the Western Culture and played it strongly against it. The main Chinese tabloid (www.huanqiu.com ) editorial cited online surveys showing 80% of respondents who said they could not care less if Google withdrew from China, the world’s largest Internet market with an estimated 420 million users. There was even Baidu’s media advertising campaign, positions them as a suave Chinese native vs. the clueless foreigner (Google). The message was clear, East is the Best!

* Downloading free MP3 files
This is one of the most popular online activities in China and Baidu became the primary vehicle to locate and download free MP3 files, which generates huge amount of traffic. Choosing Baidu for average Chinese person was obvious.

Baidu vs Google- How does it reflect in statistics?

In 2009 when Google was still strongly present in Chinese’s online world, it had 20% of the search market (then rose to 31%), whilst Baidu covered almost all the rest-62%, the remaining 18% belonged to China Search Engines Directory-SearchEngineColossus.com, China Profile by the BBC- The Asian Search Engine in English and China Factbook- China information from the CIA World Factbook. However, in July 2010, Analysys International said that Baidu’s share of China’s online searches rose to 70% last quarter from 64% the previous quarter, while Google’s share fell to 24%.

So what those numbers mean? Having 70% of all online users in China means 294mln of users! Whilst in US the number of all internet users is estimated slightly under 240mln (July 2010)! All that shows that it is not only Baidu’s winning battle over Google. This battle is quickly becoming more a global one. Forget China, Baidu is now the third largest search site in the world and it’s nipping at Yahoo’s heels to become number two.

Internet Users in China

Internet User in China 2000-2010

Internet Users in China 2000- 2010 Graph

Internet Users in China 2000-2010- graph

(data collected from InternetWorldStats.com)

Baidu vs Google- impact on the financial market

According to Investor’s Business Daily (finance.yahoo.com/news/Baidu-Profit-Sales-Beat-ibd-3623632519.html?x=0&.v=1), in July 2010 Baidu shares were up more than 3% after hours following the results. Baidu is up 78% since Jan. 1, while Google shares are down 23%. For its second quarter, Baidu reported earnings of 35 cents a share, up from 16 cents a year ago, accounting for a 10-for-1 stock split May 12. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had expected 31 cents.

Will Baidu become a threat for Google on international scale? Well, I say it’s very likely causing Google some sleepless nights.

Mags Sikora

I'm Mags, an SEO Consultant, London

  • http://www.optimise-firstfound.co.uk Andy @ FirstFound

    Does Baidu give Chinese users better results though? Because if they don’t, they won’t make any headway against Google anywhere else.

  • http://twitter.com/RuudHein Ruud Hein

    I’m not sure the two main reasons mentioned, nationalism and MP3 search, were *the* deciding factors.nnThere’s definitely some hesitance towards a foreign company like Google. In North America we would see the same thing if a, say, Middle Eastern search engine would appear here. But patriotism or nationalism doesn’t make or break a search engine “war”nnWhat comes into play is that just like “we” choose for Google because it simply had better results (as judged by us….) people in China pick Baidu because *it* has better results *according to them*nnAnecdotally, the inclusion of paid placement in the search results would be something that builds trust for the Baidu user whereas “we” find it suspect.

  • http://MardahBeatz.com beats for sale

    damn, i thought google was number 1 every where. i guess not. china don’t want google lolz

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  • http://www.auto-insurance.octopis.com Thomas Doe

    Google has some problem with the China`s govern. The govern prohibit some liberties, and it may create to Google some concerns. Baidu can work easier with those interdictions, i think…

  • http://www.blog.pixelsanddots.com Eric SEO Blogger

    I don’t think Baidu will take over google anytime soon. Maybe in years and years down the line- you never know. I mean Google provides so many free things and tools. Does Baidu provide some of this? We should do a comparison

  • Anonymous

    Yes, it’s definitely no a matter of months:) You are right, let’s make a comparison and see how it looks from that side!

  • Anonymous

    Have a look at the last SEO Chat article: They say of the Baidu’s growing trend continues, Baidu in the future may become one of the biggest search engines, along with Google, its rival. This increase in market share also increases the importance of getting good rankings in the Baidu search engine, particularly if you are targeting customers coming from China.

  • http://twitter.com/kupr Simon Cooper

    Would be interesting to see how many people are using Google Hong Kong http://www.google.com.hk to get around the censorship issue of Baidu.

  • http://blog.pixelsanddots.com Eric SEO Blogger

    Yeah, I know. anything can happen in the future. I wonder how Baidu will market and appeal to the US and UK areas. I think they would have to create some kind of unique edge to get different countries to enjoy their search engine.

  • http://sizlopedia.in/ Ravi Chauhan

    This increase in market share also increases the importance of getting good rankings in the Baidu search engine,

  • Alvin

    You are right they quit as per my info they changed their whole things now when you open google.com.cn the directed to on Hong Kong page that is google.com.hk so it means they are totally out.

  • http://twitter.com/jeremybroutin Ju00e9ru00e9my Broutin

    I am not sure that Google has anything to fear about Baidu, I mean, at the international level. I agree that China is the wildest internet and growing market but Baidu has his success only in China (try to talk about Baidu to non-seo-aware people around you in Europe, most of the time they bearly know the Baidu’s name).nIn my mind Google is so strongly implemented, and provides so many tools (like Eric SEO BLogger said) that any competitor will have difficulties to emerge in West markets :)nnThanks for the information and the last updates about China’s search market. Great post.