Baidu, known as "China's Google," made a smashing debut on the NASDAQ in August, and rightly so – it is more popular than Google in the world's second-largest Internet market, and its lead over Google continues to inch upward. The latest statistics (see table below) give Baidu 33% of the China search market, and Google only 20%.
Most Chinese Internet users use Chinese keywords to search, and Baidu currently provides the most abundant Chinese language results among China's search engines, including Google. Baidu has focused on free MP3 searches, which are very popular with the young, but got it into some IPR hot water before the IPO. The company removed a lot of its MP3 links, but after the IPO, there was still a vast quantity of free music accessible through its search function.
Baidu possibly has the most effective spamsite-filtering technology in the business, so if you search for popular singer "Zhou Jielun", you will see few or no spam sites (e.g, no sex or MP3 download sites) among the results. Not so with Google's Chinese search.
There is also the issue of so-called "sensitive words," which the authorities have determined are inappropriate for Chinese people to search. If you try such sensitive words in Google, a temporary blockage of the user's IP address results, and Google will be off-limits for up to 10 minutes. Baidu, on the other hand, has already filtered the results ahead of time. Meanwhile, other domestic search engines, such as Yahoo's 3721 and Sohu's Sogou, are trying to develop their own niche. 3721's claim to fame is its "address search" technology, which lets you type search words directly into the URL window. So, you can type the Chinese characters for "Great Wall," you will get web pages containing the words "great wall." 3721 accounts for more than 90% share in this growing "address search" market. Sogou is the de facto leader in delivering business information. Again, if you type in the words "Great Wall," you will get businesses containing the words great wall, such as "The Great Wall Group" or "Great Wall Securities."
Google's advantage is its English link database. But the establishment and growth of Google China should provide Baidu with some more serious competition over the long term.
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